The Bungala solar project in South Australia is set to begin construction after reaching financial close.
The 220MW project, located in Port Augusta, will be one of the largest solar farms in Australia.
Origin Energy has signed an agreement to buy all of the renewable power from the plant, putting the company on track to meet its commitment to build or contract between 1000MW and 1500MW of large-scale renewable energy by 2020.
“In the past year we have underpinned approximately 550MW of new renewable energy projects, representing approximately one third of the capacity of the recently retired Hazelwood Power Station,” Origin CEO Frank Calabria said.
“Our ambition to build or contract up to 1500MW of new renewables by 2020, almost replacing the Hazelwood capacity entirely, will be crucial to delivering the clean and reliable energy supply Australian homes and businesses are demanding.”
Origin’s agreement to buy all of the renewable power from Bungala solar project is the company’s largest ever solar power purchase agreement.
The solar farm is expected to be fully operational by August 2018, with Origin expecting to start receiving power from the first stage of the solar farm’s development in time for the summer of 2017/2018.
“By putting in place a long-term contract to purchase all of the solar power Bungala produces, we have played an important role in helping it reach financial close,” Mr Calabria said.
“Bungala’s development will mean more jobs in Port Augusta and will also contribute to improved energy security in South Australia, as solar is a more predictable form of renewable energy than wind.
“Recent events in South Australia have demonstrated the importance of energy security, and identified the need for sufficient backup from gas-fired generation to balance the intermittency of renewable energy.
“Origin is proud to be playing an active role in this transition. We own the nation’s largest fleet of gas-fired peaking power stations located across New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia, and so we play an important role in helping to maintain energy security.”
The Bungala solar project is being developed by Reach Solar and is owned by consortium partners ENEL Green Power S.p.A and the Dutch Infrastructure Fund.