Another Australian solar project has secured an electricity off take deal, with Ergon Energy Retail inking a power purchase agreement with the Australian arm of Spain’s Fotowatio Renewable Ventures for a 100MW project being build in the state’s central region.
The deal, FRV’s third PPA within 12 months, commits the government-owned retailer to buy the power generated by FRV’s Lilyvale Solar Farm for 12 years.
It comes less than one year after the first such deal was ever struck in Australia – between a retailer and a private developer of a solar project – when Origin Energy signed a 13-year PPA with FRV for the 100MW Clare Solar Farm that was being built in north Queensland in May 2016.
As we noted back then, the Origin-FRV deal heralded a step change in Australia’s large scale renewable energy sector, offering a sign that new contracts were being signed for the first time in years, as technology shifts from mostly wind to a balance of wind and solar.
Queensland energy minister Mark Bailey, who made the new PPA announcement while visiting Emerald today, said the deal secured an additional 100MW of renewable energy for regional Queenslanders.
The Lilyvale Solar Farm is being built by FRV Australia on a site north-east of Emerald, and is expected to create around 200 jobs during construction, which will begin later this year.
“Agreement with the Lilyvale Solar Farm is consistent with the Palaszczuk government’s commitment of meeting our 50 per cent by 2030 Renewable Energy Target,” Bailey said, use the opportunity to take a swipe at the federal government’s significantly less ambitious RET – and its increasingly ambivalent stance on the subject of both climate and renewables.
“The Palaszczuk government is providing leadership in the area of renewable energy policy because the Turnbull Government continues to stick their head in the sand.
“We are taking a planned and measured approach to increasing the level of renewable energy in our energy mix which is leading to investment and jobs, particularly in regional Queensland – while maintaining affordability for consumers.
Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt pointed to Ergon Energy Retail’s PPAs with the 170MW Mount Emerald Wind Farm, as well as sugar mills and a range of other renewable energy generators, as further proof of his government’s progress.
“More than a billion dollars of renewable energy projects are in the pipeline for Queensland after three years of inaction under Campbell Newman and Tim Nicholls. Once built, these projects will effectively double the State’s large-scale renewable energy capacity,” he said.
“Energy Queensland will continue to investigate additional renewable energy generation projects to contribute to our target of 50 per cent of energy coming from renewable sources by 2030.
“Agreements like this are possible because our electricity assets remain owned by the people of Queensland.”