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Twenty Santos wells in South Australia and Queensland will now be powered by solar energy instead of  crude oil as part of a landmark project completed by AGL.

AGL Chief Customer Officer, Christine Corbett, said AGL’s Business Energy Solutions (BES) team had installed 1.2MW of solar panels and more than 2MWh of batteries over remote sites in the Cooper Basin.

“We’re proud to have worked with this leading Australian energy company by converting ‘beam pumps’ on oil wells to run on clean, renewable energy,” Ms Corbett said.

“AGL is helping hundreds of business customers find ways to reduce their energy costs across Australia.”

Santos Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Gallagher, said from an initial pilot well, the conversion project has been progressing above expectations.

“We created Australia’s first oil well running on solar and battery, off grid,” Mr Gallagher said.

“There are more than 200 existing pumps across the Cooper Basin that could be covered and ultimately Santos aims to use solar power as the standard energy source for new onshore oil wells.

“Converting oil well pumps to solar power will deliver environmental and commercial benefits by reducing crude oil consumption, long-distance fuel haulage and emissions.”

This world-first installation of a fully autonomous solar and battery-powered oil beam pump required AGL to adopt a different project delivery approach and overcome a number of challenges to deliver a technically and economically feasible solution.

AGL Head of Delivery Operations, Brendan Weinert, said, “The solar and battery combination was sized to ensure continual operation 24 hours a day in some of Australia’s harshest climates,” Mr Weinert said.

“Each site has 160 solar panels with the capability to generate up to 100MWh of energy per year, which is enough to power 18 average Australian homes.

“They were installed using an innovative system which streamlines engineering and procurement, and provides cost efficiencies through deployment in the field.”

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