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Carnegie secures debt finance for 10MW Northam solar farm in WA

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ASX listed renewables developer Carnegie Clean Energy is getting set to build its battery-ready 10MW solar farm in Northam, Western Australia, after securing $7.5 million in debt finance for the project this week.

In an ASX announcement on Monday, Carnegie said the 12-month construction debt finance facility would be provided by Perth-based private investment group, Asymmetric Credit Partners, with the first draw-down planned for mid-December.

Carnegie’s Northam solar farm, to be built on 25 hectares of “strategically located land” in WA’s wheat belt region, around 100km east-north-east from Perth, won development approval from the local council in June.

Northam, the first large-scale solar project to be delivered in tandem with Carnegie subsidiary Energy Made Clean, is one of a number of big solar projects helping to break a four-year investment drought in WA, with just one installation, the 10MW Greenough River project, built in 2012.

As we reported here in June, that is now changing: Greenough River is to be expanded to 40MW; a 30MW solar farm is planned for Perth’s outskirts; another 20MW solar farm is to be built by APA; and in July Perth-based Stellata Energy won approval for a 120MW solar plant near Merredin.

As for Northam, Carnegie chief executive Michael Ottaviano told an energy storage conference in Sydney in June that he expects the project to be complete by the end of the year.

“We should have lots of these solar farms …. in Western Australia it hasn’t been encouraged. But the economics can make it work,” he said.

Ottaviano also suggested the Northam project might strike a mixture of power purchase agreements and merchant deals, given the high prices for both wholesale electricity and large-scale renewable energy certificates in the market.

Elsewhere in Western Australia, Carnegie has installed more than a dozen stand alone power systems for both Western Power and Horizon Energy.

“It is just a cheaper, cleaner more secure solution than the alternative,” Ottaviano said. “The cost of technology is coming down. What was an economic driver for remotes systems, is now true for the fringe of grid and on the main grid too.”  

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  • Chris Drongers

    Sunbrilliance up the road at Cunderdin better get a move on.
    Given the similarities of small population spread over large areas, heaps of sun and wind and plenty of sites for pumped hydro storage, and exhaustion of accessible coal spplies, will WA or SA be the first state to go fulky renewable?

    • Mike Dill

      So far SA has the political lead, but WA has even more economic incentive as the distances are greater for the small consumer farms. At the very least is should be an interesting thing to watch.

    • Mike A

      We are miles behind sadly. It is a pipe dream to even think of beating SA when we have hardly started in WA.

      • Chris Drongers

        True WA is hardly involved in renewables at utility level compared to SA. However, the SWIS is small (around 2GW), WA is isolated, sun and wind abound, and there are plenty of potential pumped hydro storage sites (although mapping half a dozen within the same coal mine at Collie is stretching the meaning of ‘site’). At the same time WA is highly coal dependent with coal supplies running down.
        What I would expect to see is that in the next year or two (leading up to the next WA election) the Labor government will bring out a plan to encourage more renewables with the proviso that they are matched with suitable storage. Expect to see news about pumped hydro schemes sooner than later, probably attached to Wellington Weir in the first instance (complete speculation on my part but would use more existing infrastructure, give employment to job-challenged blue collar Collie, and be doable in fairly quick order).

  • IMBY. Small solar is doing well in Queensland today. South Australia leads the country still with 33% of the states supply from pv.

    Instead of handing out subsidies to Indian companies with an awful reputation the Premier of Queensland should be helping renters get solar on their roof.

  • Richie

    Since when has any Liberal government been remotely interested in solving the climate change problem? The SA opposition no doubt secretly hold the deep-seated beliefs of the climate deniers as exemplified by ABBOTT. I would not trust them to keep such a promise. Just look at TURNBULL and how he has abrogated any semblance of a climate conscience since he became PM. I will never EVER vote for a Liberal again after their record of reckless opposition to anything that might transition us to a new renewable based economy. They are an absolute disgrace. They should never (NOT EVER) be forgiven for holding back Australia’s progress for so long.

    • Richie

      Sorry I posted this to the wrong thread. Please refer to SA govt home battery offer.