Origin today welcomed financial close on the Bungala Solar Project, with the company’s agreement to buy all of the renewable power from the plant bringing Origin’s recent commitments to new utility-scale solar projects to 550 MW.
This puts Origin on track to meet its commitment to build or contract between 1,000 MW and 1,500 MW of large-scale renewable energy by 2020.
Origin CEO, Frank Calabria said, “In the past year we have underpinned approximately 550 MW of new renewable energy projects, representing approximately one third of the capacity of the recently retired Hazelwood Power Station.
“Our ambition to build or contract up to 1,500 MW 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. Origin will also acquire the associated Large Scale Generation Certificates.
Other recent offtake agreements for renewable power were signed with Moree, Lakeland and Clare solar farms.
At 220 MW, Bungala Solar Project in Port Augusta will be one of the largest solar farms in Australia. Having reached financial close, Bungala is expected to shortly begin construction.
Origin expects to start receiving power from the first stage of the solar farm’s development in time for the summer of 2017/2018. The entire 220 MW is expected to be operational by August 2018.
Mr Calabria said, “Origin is delighted to be an active supporter of Bungala Solar Project. 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.
“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.
“Energy markets around the world are in transition and Australia is no different.
“We must make sure our energy supply is secure, as Australian homes and businesses rely on it. At the same time, we must make sure energy continues to be affordable as we move Australia towards a cleaner supply.
“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.
“As a leading gas producer, we are also making sure gas is available for other peaking power stations. For example, last month we announced a gas supply deal with Engie to underpin the second generation unit of its Pelican Point power station, further supporting energy security in South Australia.
“Renewable energy and natural gas are complementary sources of energy, and are expected to play an increasingly important role in helping Australia achieve the right balance between energy security, affordability and sustainability,” Mr Calabria said.
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.
About Bungala Solar Project
The Bungala Solar Project is located about 10 km north east of Port Augusta and will occupy an 800 ha site on land owned by the Bungala Aboriginal Corporation (BAC). Featuring single axis tracking design in which solar panels will slowly follow the position of the sun throughout the day, the project will have a generating capacity of 220 MW, making it one of Australia’s largest utility scale solar plants.
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About Origin Energy
Origin Energy (ASX: ORG) is the leading Australian integrated energy company with market leading positions in energy retailing (approximately 4.2 million customer accounts), power generation (approximately 6,000 MW of capacity owned and contracted) and natural gas production (1,093 PJ of 2P reserves and annual production of 82 PJe). Through Australia Pacific LNG, its incorporated joint venture with ConocoPhillips and Sinopec, Origin is developing Australia’s biggest CSG to LNG project based on the country’s largest 2P CSG reserves base.