JWS advises SA Government in relation to revolutionary SA Energy Plan

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JWS has worked with key agencies of the State of South Australia in relation to the successful implementation of a number of elements of the $520 million Energy Plan announced by Premier Jay Weatherill in March 2017.

The firm has worked closely with Steven Buckham, Craig Richards and Sam Nelson of the SA Crown Solicitor's Office, under the leadership of Chief Commercial Counsel Chris Gray and the SA Department of Premier and Cabinet to successfully implement key aspects of the plan:

Battery Project

The first project to be awarded was the world’s largest grid-connected lithium ion battery project, which was awarded to the French renewables company Neoen and US energy company Tesla. The 100 MW / 129 MW-hour battery energy storage system is to be located at Neoen’s Hornsdale Wind Farm located near Jamestown, in the Mid-North of South Australia.

JWS Partners Jee-Seon Lee (Energy & Resources/Projects) and John Keeves (Head of Transactional and Advisory) led the JWS team for the battery transaction with assistance from Partners Anthony Groom, Stephen Byrne and Craig Wappett, Special Counsel Andrew Wilton and other members of the JWS transactional and advisory team.

The battery system is intended to assist managing power system security in the South Australian grid which relies on a significant level of renewable generation and the Heywood Interconnector to maintain power supply and grid stability.

The project is one of the very few of this scale in the world and is attracting significant international attention – there was a high level of international industry interest with over 90 expressions of interest being received. In order to achieve delivery in time for the summer of 2017/2018, the project team was required to work within a compressed timeframe to develop and execute tailored project documentation for a first battery project of this scale in Australia to be connected to the National Grid.

Solar thermal project – power procurement

JWS also supported the Crown Solicitor’ Office and the Department of Premier and Cabinet with the Government wide power procurement process that resulted in Solar Reserve being awarded the contract in return for undertaking to develop a $650 million 150 MW solar thermal plant North of Port Augusta in regional South Australia. 

The solar thermal plant will be the largest of its kind in the world when completed.

JWS Partners Peter Rose (Energy & Resources) and Amanda Seaton (Energy & Resources) led the JWS team for power procurement process, with assistance from Special Counsel Man Loi and other members of the JWS transactional and advisory team.

Emergency generation

The third project involved the procurement of 276 MW capacity of emergency generation equipment to supplement generation capacity in times of peak demand or supply constraints to avoid load shedding in SA.  This procurement was executed by the Government through SA Distribution Network Service Provider SA Power Networks, and involved the acquisition of generation capacity from mobile modular aero-derivative generation units to be located at Lonsdale and the former Holden site. The Government also acquired an option to acquire the equipment so that it could be relocated to a permanent site to provide the longer term generation facility announced in the Energy Plan.

Partners Paul Turner (Projects) and Martin Kudnig (Energy & Resources) led the JWS team for this project assisted by Craig Wappett, Andrew Wilton, Special Counsel Deborah Overstead, and other members of the JWS transactional and advisory team.

Transaction management

John Keeves and Peter Rose have had overall legal transaction management responsibility of the JWS teams across the projects.  Other senior JWS lawyers involved in the projects generally included Partners Marcus Clark (Corporate), and Reynah Tang (Tax).

Keeves said "We are delighted to have assisted Crown Solicitor’s Office and the State of South Australia with these key electricity infrastructure projects, and have enjoyed working closely with our colleagues from the SA Crown Solicitor's Office on such an important set of transactions."

Important Disclaimer: The material contained in this article is comment of a general nature only and is not and nor is it intended to be advice on any specific professional matter. In that the effectiveness or accuracy of any professional advice depends upon the particular circumstances of each case, neither the firm nor any individual author accepts any responsibility whatsoever for any acts or omissions resulting from reliance upon the content of any articles. Before acting on the basis of any material contained in this publication, we recommend that you consult your professional adviser. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation (Australia-wide except in Tasmania).