French clean power producer invests in South Australia

19 December

Multinational renewable energy producer, Akuo Energy, is investing in South Australia, with the capacity to lower energy prices for households and businesses and create dozens of local construction jobs.

The France-based company is investing $12 million in the initial development of a 4.98MW renewable energy site in Renmark, called the ‘Jane Eliza Solar Farm’, in a joint bid with SA’s Enerven.

Work is expected to begin next year, with the project involving 15,000 solar PV panels, situated on 10 hectares of land within the Renmark Paringa Council area.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, David Ridgway welcomed the investment in regional South Australia, which had the capacity to provide enough energy for 2000 homes and and create dozens of local construction jobs.

“This project demonstrates significant international investor confidence in South Australia,’’ said Minister Ridgway.

“Attracting a company like Akuo Energy, which has provided renewable energy to Fortune 500 companies in the United States, will stimulate competition in the local energy market and will create jobs for South Australians.”

Following its initial investment, Akuo Energy has broader plans to invest in South Australia in the implementation of solar investments in grid-scale renewable energy generation, floating solar PV, wind and wood biomass energy projects.

The company has projects in 16 countries, including the United States, Uruguay, Croatia, Dubai, Mali, Indonesia and Poland developing, financing, constructing and operating renewable energy generation power plants.

Jean Ballandras, CEO of Akuo Energy in the Asia Pacific region, said the company is delighted to have created a base for further investments in South Australia.

“Just as we did in the United States, we wish to bring our affordable electricity prices using clean energy to many businesses in South Australia over the next few years,” Mr Ballandras said.

“We appreciate the guidance from the South Australian Government and, in particular, the Department for Trade, Tourism and Investment, which has helped us enter the local market and provided invaluable support, which made it an easy decision to invest in South Australia.”

Akuo Energy has signed a long-term lease to build, own and operate the 4.98MW renewable energy site with the Renmark Paringa Council.

Renmark Paringa Council Mayor Neil Martinson said the land formed part of the Jane Eliza estate which has been in Council’s possession for 25 years.

“In 2016 Council developed a Masterplan for the Jane Eliza estate which included developing a renewable energy site as well as undertaking environmental watering,” Mayor Martinson said.

“The long-term lease signed by Council with Akuo Energy will create a passive income for the community without the risk of entering the energy market and will require the lessee to relocate an ageing flood bank which will create further opportunities for Council in the future on this section of previously unusable land.

“There are many positives for our community and the state of South Australia from the signing of this lease.”