EnergyAustralia, one of the country’s leading energy retailers, today announced it had signed a long-term agreement to buy 100 megawatts (MW) of new renewable energy from the 150 MW capacity Coleambally solar farm developed by Neoen in New South Wales.
The Coleambally power purchase agreement (PPA) is EnergyAustralia’s fifth since it announced in December 2016 a $1.5 billion program to underpin new wind and solar projects across eastern Australia. EnergyAustralia’s commitment has now underpinned new wind and solar developments with more than 500 MW of total capacity.
EnergyAustralia Executive – Energy Mark Collette said continued investment in new supplies of cleaner energy was critical to underpinning Australia’s system as existing coal generation is retired.
“We’re really pleased to add a quality renewable project like Coleambally to our power purchase portfolio,” said Mr Collette.
“We have a neutral view about the technology that will replace existing coal as a source of base-load supply, so long as it supports the delivery of reliable, affordable and cleaner energy. One thing is clear though – renewables are part of the solution and will make a major contribution to the development of a modern energy system in Australia.
“Bringing on these new supplies will require billions of dollars of investment but doing nothing means higher prices and less reliable energy for all customers. Families and businesses are depending on industry and government to get it right,” Mr Collette said.
Mr Collette said there was reason for optimism as recent public statements by federal and state governments showed there's good understanding of Australia’s energy challenge. He said the recent Finkel Panel report on the future security of the national electricity market was a good, solid blueprint for governments to work together on a bipartisan, national approach to energy.
Located in the Riverina region of New South Wales, the Coleambally solar farm is being developed by French company, Neoen.
The farm will produce enough emissions-free, renewable energy to meet the electricity needs of more than 50,000 households. The project will create around 300 jobs during construction and seven ongoing operational roles.
Since EnergyAustralia announced its PPA program seven months ago it has secured agreements for 385 MW of renewable energy for its customers from projects with total capacity of more than 500 MW. The PPAs will help the company met its obligations under the Australian Government’s Renewable Energy Target, which requires retailers to have 23.5% of total energy in the national electricity market provided by renewable sources by 2020.
Neoen Managing Director – Australia, Franck Woitiez said his company was looking forward to working with EnergyAustralia.
“EnergyAustralia’s 12-year commitment to the Coleambally PPA is an important step in developing this new solar farm as we expand our renewable energy portfolio in Australia,” Mr Woitiez said. “Now, with EnergyAustralia’s support firmly in place, Neoen can concentrate on reaching financial close before the end of 2017.”
The Coleambally commitment follows EnergyAustralia’s agreements to buy:
- All the output from the 48.5 MW Manildra solar farm in New South Wales
- Eighty per cent of the output from the 142 MW Ross River solar farm in Queensland
- All of the output from the 60 MW Gannawarra solar farm in Victoria, and
- Sixty per cent of the output from the 113 MW Bodangora Wind Farm in New South Wales.
EnergyAustralia’s existing renewable energy program includes the rights to more than 450 MW of electricity from wind farms in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, which produce enough power to meet the annual electricity needs of 300,000 average homes each year.