18 May 2023

Italian energy storage specialist NHOA Energy helps Australia transition to net zero

Energy storage specialist NHOA Energy will play a vital role in helping Australia transition to net zero. The Italian company will be a part of a consortium delivering a 400MWh battery storage project near Blyth in South Australia.

NHOA Energy will work with Spain’s Elecnor to deliver storage for the Goyder South Stage 1 wind farm, being built by French renewable energy company Neoen. The battery will also provide base-load supply to mining and resources company BHP.

The Blyth battery is NHOA Energy’s second large-scale project in Australia. The company is also commissioning the 200MWh Kwinana Battery Energy Storage System for Synergy in Western Australia.

Supporting Australia’s energy transition

Australia offers unique potential for renewable energy projects. It has vast natural resources and space for world-class wind and solar generation projects. Its stable regulatory environment is also an investment advantage.

‘For us, Australia is the ideal market to be in the front seat, from an energy-transition perspective,’ says NHOA Energy CEO Giuseppe Artizzu.

He says Australia’s geography and engineering challenges only make it more attractive.

‘Australia’s dispersed population makes it a challenging place to despatch renewable energy without something to stabilise it,’ he adds. ‘This makes it an ideal place for our solutions, which transform intermittent renewable energy sources into a stable power supply.’

NHOA Energy’s Kwinana big battery project demonstrates the company’s innovative technology. It has built and is now commissioning a 200MWh battery with Australian energy generator Synergy and the Western Australia Government. Due to go online shortly, the battery will store excess energy from rooftop solar and help stabilise Western Australia’s electricity grid.

Bringing new skills to Australian industry

Installation and connection of batteries on this scale requires a range of skills. These include electrical and civil engineering, systems and software engineering, project management and electrical and construction trades.

Rather than just import the skills it needs, NHOA Energy’s approach is to focus on skilling up the local workforce.

‘We will bring the deep expertise and core competency in bespoke engineering projects that we’ve built up over the last 15 years,’ says Ashley Mangano, NHOA Energy’s Vice President – Australia & Pacific. ‘We have experience in Australia and across projects in 26 countries to really start to build not only jobs, but the industry here.’

NHOA Energy is working with the University of Western Australia on a new model of talent development. The company’s aim: to support development of the required talent pipeline in Western Australia. It hopes to recruit over 30 positions in Australia by the end of 2023, increasing to several hundred jobs over the next few years to support projects in Australian.

Building connections and relationships

NHOA Energy has established its regional headquarters in Perth.

The company’s presence in Western Australia is strategically important. The company looks to build ties with new and ‘traditional’ energy market players to tackle the shared challenges of sustainable supply.

NHOA Energy’s success in Australia has also depended on strong relationships with governments at state and federal level, as well as regulators, policy makers and state-owned suppliers.

‘Delivering a new type of technology rapidly into a new market is always coupled with unique challenges,’ says Mangano. ‘We’ve always been met with support in Australia. We feel there’s an open door to have necessary discussions, easy or difficult.’

A power sub-station surrounded by a field of wheat

Austrade helps make connections

Both Mangano and Artizzu credit Austrade for making important introductions, especially with the Western Australian Government.

They say they were amazed by the attention they received, which included a visit by Western Australian Premier Michael McGowan to Milan.

‘That really reassured us of the support in Western Australia and enabled NHOA Energy to commit to invest in a presence here,’ says Mangano.

‘That’s one of the reasons Austrade exists — to help companies like NHOA Energy understand the scale of opportunity in Australia for clean energy technology, and where Italian companies can fill those gaps,’ says William Peasland, Austrade Investment Director, Milan.

Looking forward to a clean energy future

NHOA Energy has big ambitions to be part of Australia and the region’s transition to net zero.

‘NHOA Energy will continue to recruit and develop talented people, share knowledge and technology, strengthen its supply chain, and work to stabilise Australia’s energy infrastructure,’ says Mangano.

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