Less than a month after forming a joint venture to ramp up its solar and big battery plans for Australia, the Australian arm of Saudi-owned Fotowatio Renewable Ventures has been tapped to help roll out up to half a gigawatt of solar farms in New Zealand.
NZX-listed Genesis – which is 51% owned by the NZ government – said on Thursday that it had selected FRV Australia as a joint venture partner to deliver up to 500MW of solar capacity over the next five years.
Most of it will be built on New Zealand’s North Island, with a first location to be confirmed early in 2022. NZ’s generation is currently mostly made up of hydro, geothermal and wind.
Genesis said FRV – which is owned by Saudi Arabia’s Abdul Latif Jameel Energy – had won the competitive tender for the job by virtue of its large-scale solar experience, its access to global supply chain networks, and the added bonus of being a “cultural and strategic fit.”
Genesis, which has an existing generation portfolio of hydro, wind, geothermal and coal and gas plants, said FRV Australia will hold a 40% stake in the NZ solar assets.
Last month FRV sold a 49% stake in its giga-scale Australian pipeline of solar and big battery projects to Canada-based Omers Infrastructure. Its Australian portfolio consists of 642MW of operational and under construction solar PV assets across the National Electricity Market.
The portfolio includes the Sebastapol (11MW) and Metz (141MW) solar farms in NSW, as well as the 5MW solar-storage hybrid power plant near Dalby in southern Queensland, which will include 2.4MW of PV and a 2.5MW/5MWh battery.
“More than a decade ago, we came to Australia guided by the same pioneering spirit, and we intend to replicate our successful Australian experience in the New Zealand solar energy market,” said FRV Australia managing director Carlo Frigiero in a statement on Thursday.
Genesis, which has set its sights on becoming a leading big solar developer in its home market, has laid out a plan dubbed the Future-gen Program that aims to displace 2650GWh of baseload thermal generation with new renewable power by 2030.
Ultimately, that will most likely include the Huntly Power Station, the largest fossil fuel-based generator in NZ, which combines three 250MW coal-and-gas-fired steam turbine units, a 50MW gas peaking plant, and a 403MW combined cycle gas turbine plant.
Elsewhere in NZ, Genesis launched the Waipipi wind farm in Taranaki earlier this year, signed a power purchase agreement to enable the building of the Kaiwaikawe windfarm in Northland over the next three years, and another for power from the Tauhara geothermal plant being built near Taupō.
“Combined, these four projects will create 1935GWh per year of renewable generation, putting us well on the way toward our goal of displacing 2650GWh of thermal power,” said Genesis COO Nigel Clark.
“We are moving at pace to underline our commitment to transition to renewable sources of generation.”