The first solar plant in Western Australia to be co-located with a wind farm has cleared its final hurdle to realisation and will begin construction next month.
Developer APA Group, a Sydney-based gas infrastructure business, announced today it had signed a 12-year energy and certificate PPA with WA utility Synergy for its $50 million Emu Downs project, which will be constructed alongside its existing 80MW wind array.
The 20MW project will receive $5.5 million in ARENA funding, as a part of the agency’s large-scale solar program. ARENA announced today that it had signed a funding agreement for the project.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht noted that solar and wind projects have complementary generation profiles. This applies in particular to the Emu Downs site in WA, which is about 200km north of Perth, where the wind turbines are driven by strong overnight winds.
“This new generation of solar farms is also proving to be attractive to energy retailers,” said Frischknecht “I’m delighted that Emu Downs Solar Farm has entered into a 12-year power purchase agreement to sell electricity and generation certificates to energy retailer, Synergy.”
APA Group indicated that it would continue to invest in renewable energy assets.
“The Emu Downs Solar Project forms part of the execution of our growth strategy in the renewables power generation asset class,” said APA Group Managing Director Mick McCormack. The executive added that the addition of solar not only makes sense regarding generation profile but also in that it allows for the existing transmission infrastructure to be shared between the complementary power plants.
APA acquired the Emu Downs Wind Farm in 2011 for $171 million. It was completed in 2006 and is operating under a 20-year PPA that was signed in 2011.
The 12-year PPA for the 20MW solar plant will come into effect in January 2018.