The NSW Coalition government has agreed to buy green energy certificates from the soon-to-be-completed Dubbo solar farm to help meet its own obligations under the national renewable energy target.
Under the deal signed with French renewable energy developer Neoen, NSW will buy the large scale generation certificates (known as LGCs) generated by the Dubbo solar farm from mid 2019 to 2030.
The 24MW Dubbo solar farm is actually two separate arrays, a 15MW installation at Dubbo South Keswick, and a 9MW facility at nearby Narromine.
It is one of three plants being developed by Neoen – including Parkes and Griffith – that received funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency in its large scale solar tender, and also financing from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
The deal with NSW will help underpin revenue from Dubbo, which plans to sell its electricity output into the market on a “merchant” basis, meaning it will take the wholesale price of electricity. Parkes and Griffith have signed power purchase agreements with Engie.
“This project is a fantastic step towards our goal of securing 1,000 MW of clean, green energy in Australia by 2020,” said Franck Woitiez, the head of Neoen Australia.
“More importantly it is a positive indication of Australia’s renewable energy future.”
Neoen recently completed the construction of the 100MW/129MWh Tesla big battery, which is adjacent to the 315MW Hornsdale wind farm it built with the help of long term contracts from the ACT government.
It also has various projects in Victoria, including the Numurkah solar farm, which will contract to the Victoria government to help power its tram network, and for a wind farm and battery storage facility to power the massive greenhouse at Nectar Farms.
NSW energy minister Don Harwin said it was the state government’s first move into large-scale renewable energy procurement.
“This lays the foundation for more renewable energy procurement, which will deliver more power supply for the state and put more downward pressure on prices,” Harwin said in a statement.
The contract will meet 15.6 per cent of the NSW government’s obligations under the RET.
Construction of the Dubbo solar farm is largely complete and it expects to be registered and connected to the grid in early 2018, meaning it will sell LGCs into the market for the first 12-18 months of its production,
Harwin’s media statement says that NSW leads Australia in large-scale solar, with three of the country’s largest operating solar farms and a further seven under construction.
That status is expected to be short-lived, given the 2,000MW of large scale solar under construction or completed in Queensland.
NSW remains the state with the highest penetration of coal power in Australia, and quite likely the world.