Landmark power purchase agreement

Posted by Design & Construct on 01-Apr-2016 07:04:27

In Construction

ARENA Moree solar farm update

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) today congratulated the developers of recently commissioned Moree Solar Farm (MSF) for reaching a landmark power purchase agreement.

Under the agreement with developer Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), Origin Energy will purchase 100 per cent of the electricity and large-scale generation certificates (LGCs) generated by MSF for the next 15 years.

This partnership brings to fruition the project's commercial potential, made possible by taking the project risk with support provided by ARENA and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).

The Location

  • MSF is located 10km south of Moree in northern New South Wales.
  • During the site selection process over 50 locations across Australia were identified and assessed for development potential. Moree, known locally as big sky country, and taking its name from a Kamilaroi word meaning ‘rising sun', was identified as the best location for this large scale solar project.
  • The site was selected due to many factors, including the intense levels of solar radiation experienced in the area, the large amount of flat land available, Moree's good transport links and the site's proximity to the national electricity grid.
  • The plant site is in close proximity to strong transmission infrastructure, making connectivity of the plant feasible, whilst minimising the impact on the natural environment.

The project

  • FRV is the owner of the MSF project.
  • The project is funded by FRV with the support of the Australian government through a grant of AUD$101.7 million from the ARENA and debt on commercial terms from the CEFC.
  • MSF will have a capacity of 56MWac (70MWp) and will generate enough electricity to supply around 15,000 homes.
  • MWac refers to power in alternating current, whereas MWp refers to the installed capacity of the modules measured in direct current. Solar farm developers often install more panels than the capability of the inverters are rated for in order to generate the maximum possible volume of electricity throughout the day. The inverters convert the energy produced by the modules from direct current to alternating current suitable for injection into the grid.
  • MSF will have an operating life of around 30 years.
  • The technology used is solar PV-Polycrystalline modules with horizontal tracking. Panels will have a height of approximately 2.5-3m above ground level.
  • The project will deliver significant benefits to Moree and create job opportunities during construction and operation.
  • It brings investment to the area, and delivers additional indirect economic opportunities such as workers using local cafés, accommodation and petrol stations.
  • It delivers new clean electricity to meet the region's energy needs and helps further the development of the Australian clean energy industry.
  • The estimated annual greenhouse gas emissions reduced by the project are 95,000 tonnes CO2 equivalent.
  • The project saves approximately 165,000 mega litres of clean drinking water compared to a coal-fired power station.

ARENA and the CEFC have a long history of successfully working together, having provided grant funding support and debt financing, in balance, for a range of projects since June 2014.

The roles of ARENA and CEFC are uniquely distinct but complementary. Through the provision of innovative grant funding, coupled with deep commercial and technical expertise, ARENA provides the support needed to accelerate the development of promising new solutions towards commercialisation. The CEFC provides finance to de-risk and demonstrate bankability, which helps to bring near-commercial and commercial projects to reality.

Most notably, ARENA and the CEFC have been working together on a funding round for large-scale solar projects, with ARENA making $100 million available in grants and the CEFC $250 million in loans for eligible projects.

ARENA has invited 22 high merit large-scale solar project proposals, with a total project value of $1.68 billion, to proceed to the full application stage of the competitive round. The projects are seeking approximately $332 million in grant funding, are all located in mainland states and have a total capacity of 766 MW. None of the projects would be able proceed, in the near future, without the grant funding from ARENA.

2016 will be a year where companies embrace green culture and Australia's employers are now looking for candidates who have experience of working within the renewable energy industry. If you work within the green industry and are looking for the next big project or job opportunity, please contact one of our consultants to discuss your sustainability career today.

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References:
Australia. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency. (2016). Retrieved 31 March, 2016 from http://arena.gov.au/media/arena-congratulates-msf-commercial-partnership/
Australia. Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (2016). Retrieved 31 March, 2016 from http://www.moreesolarfarm.com.au/home