State Grid of China, Singapore Power out of hybrid renewable and long-term storage project in Australia.

State Grid Corporation of China and Singapore Power, a co-owned energy infrastructure group, have decided not to invest in a hybrid power plant project in South Australia.

The Gemena Group, which operates in the Australian energy market, is owned by 60% State Grid and 40% Singapore Power.  Gemina Aurora Energy Project has decided to focus on investments for its existing assets rather than the participating unregulated energy market.

The project includes a 140MW / 280MWh Battery Energy Storage System (BESS), 70 MW Solar PV and 150 MW Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant with long-lasting molten silicon thermal energy storage.

Aurora’s developer, 1414 Degrees, is an Australian tech company that has developed and patented dissolved silicon thermal energy storage technology for use on the site, which claims to provide tens of thousands of megawatt-hours of storage.  .

By heating the silicon with the company’s name temperature (in centigrade) it is able to store energy and produce it at “maximum efficiency”.  The first model was demonstrated in 2016 and the company floated the IPO in 2018.

1414 Degrees has all rights to the development of Aurora through a subsidiary.  Tech announced on April 5 that it had been listed on the Australian Share Exchange (ASX) and had ceased investing in Ovida Infrastructure, a subsidiary of Gemena.

Nevertheless, he said 1414 degrees was focused on the project near Port Augusta, South Australia.  Authorities have given development approval for solar PV, BESS and CSP and transmission network operator Electronet’s connection to the 275kV transmission line.

The project will be built in stages, with BESS and Solar PV coming first.  1414 Degrees is now working to secure a connectivity deal and start development at BESS’s initial 140MW / 140MWh and expects a final investment decision to be made before the end of this year.

Ovida signed a memorandum of understanding with 1414 degrees last year, which was announced in December.  Following its change of heart, which 1414 degrees said was “a change in its strategic priorities,” the exclusive MoU has been terminated and negotiations on final binding agreements have been cancelled.

1414 Degrees says it will accept termination payments worth AU $ 100,000 (US $ 74,336) and retain previous payments made by Ovida, including the initial AU $ 300,000 payment.

“We thank Ovida for his or her contribution over the previous few months with us to the Aurora project. The joint work has reinforced our belief that Aurora is a world-class renewable energy destination, which continues to be the subject of many years of investment and approvals,” said Matt Squire, CEO of 1414 degrees.

Squire, a former oil and gas industry executive hired by Thermal Storage Company in July 2021, said the development will continue through the 1414 Degrees Silicon Aurora subsidiary.

If Aurora goes ahead, it will connect to the Australian National Electricity Market (NEM), where it can play multiple sources of revenue, including frequency control auxiliary services (FCAS), NEM’s market for frequency control.

The first solar-plus-storage phase of its construction provides renewable energy generation, as well as high power frequency control services from its short-lived BESS, while the 1414-degree thermal energy storage included in Phase 2 provides long-lasting, robust energy.  Opportunities can be targeted with higher electricity prices.

In the third phase, 1414 Degrees seeks to fully develop 1,100 hectares of land – for which it has a 40-year land lease from the State Government of South Australia – as a hybrid renewable and storage facility, including CSP.

In other words, the first phase of the project will target the low-hanging fruit of high revenues from BESS, monetizing the transmission grid connection it shares with the solar PV plant.  It then targets deep market opportunities as it develops and 1414 degrees states that its subsidiary wants to maintain and own transmission lines so that it can generate revenue from multiple assets it needs to deploy.

credited : Andy Colthorpe,

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