The NSW government has decided to sign up for a significant amount of solar power in an effort to boost the prospects for eight proposed large scale solar projects in the state.
NSW energy minister Anthony Roberts is offering that 92GWh of solar output be bought by government users – roughly the equivalent of about 40MW of solar capacity.
The move is designed to improve the chances of the eight NSW solar projects that made a shortlist of 22 projects in the $100 million funding round being conducted by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
By having a power purchase agreement for all or part of their output, these solar projects will then need less money from ARENA to get their project off the ground, in term improving their prospects of getting a grant.
The ARENA funding will total around $100 million and will support around 200MW of new capacity, although this is expected to be spread over numerous projects.
Queensland has also offered power purchase agreements for 120MW of large scale solar capacity. NSW currently leads the country in large scale solar generation – thanks to the Nyngan (102MW), Broken Hill (53MW) and Moree (57MW) projects that were supported by ARENA, although most activity is now happening in Queensland.
“This renewable energy power purchase agreement is an innovative way for the NSW government to use a portion of its energy needs to improve the competitiveness of these shortlisted projects,” Roberts said.
“We are providing the solar industry with confidence that the NSW government will support solar investment in our state and providing and opportunity for any of the successful short-listed projects to secure long-term financial certainty.”
The eight solar farms competing for ARENA funds can be found here, along with the other candidates. Final bids are due this week.