A $680 million wind and solar park at Port Augusta in South Australia has been approved by the state government.

Irish developer DP Energy plans a 375MW hybrid facility of up to 59 wind turbines and 1.6 million solar panels near the de-commissioned coal-burning Northern Power Station south-east of Port Augusta.

The Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park will generate about 1,000GWh of power a year, enough for 200,000 households and saving 470,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Construction is expected to begin next year and last two years.

South Australia is a leader in renewable energy, with about 35% of Australia’s installed wind-generated power.

This one project will make a material contribution to South Australia achieving its low carbon investment target of $10 billion by 2025.

DP Energy says the project has a unique generation profile, where the wind resource is primarily driven by the temperature difference between the land and sea rather than by weather systems. This means a regular early evening peak is aligned with the daily peak demand for electricity.

The effect is also strongest in the summer when temperature differences are at their greatest, meaning that annual energy generation also peaks when it is most needed, the company says.

When this evening wind generation temperature effect is coupled with large-scale solar generation (which has a midday peak) a good match to overall demand can be achieved thereby supporting the electricity network and placing downward pressure on wholesale prices.

“The Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park represents a new breed of renewable energy generation which will deliver the right power at the right time for energy consumers, and deliver economic benefit to the region and the State,” said DP Energy CEO Simon De Pietro.