MinterEllison paves way for 250MW energy-storage facility

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MinterEllison has helped bring a major energy-storage facility in South Australia closer to being built.

The top firm advised Hillgrove Resources, a copper and gold miner, on the $31m sale of the development rights to the Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES) Project at its near-end-of-life Kanmantoo Mine.

The firm advised on the structure the deal, prepared the tender documents, and led the negotiations.

The project, expected to have a generating capacity of 250MW and eight hours of storage, will have the largest storage capacity in the state. It will transform the mine site into one of the lowest-cost electricity-storage projects in Australia at a time when synchronous generation and bulk storage is required, MinterEllison said.

The project was conceived because of the need for effective storage to deal with volatile electricity prices and supply. MinterEllison said that the mine is ideal since it is close to electricity infrastructure and has water delivered through dedicated pipelines.

“With open-cut mining set to scale back in the next 12 to 18 months, the development of the PHES project at the Kanmantoo site presents itself as a great opportunity for Hillgrove to generate added value from an existing asset in an area outside of the scope of its core business," said partner Andrew Corletto, who headed the MinterEllison team. “This project is the largest storage capacity in the South Australian energy market, and the relative scarcity of PHES projects in Australia makes this transaction unique.”

Corletto said that the firm has advised Hillgrove on numerous corporate and transactional matters in previous years. For the latest deal, Corletto was supported by partners Paul Ingram, Stephen Hill, Jeremy Hill, and Clay Wohling, as well as senior associate Cianan Hehir and associate Russell Jones.