Major Australian gen-tailer Origin Energy has locked in development of what will be one of Queensland’s largest solar projects, after agreeing to buy all of the output and renewable energy certificates from a 150MW solar farm being built by Edify Energy in the state’s north.
Daydream Solar Farm will be located on a 1,070-acre site north of Collinsville in northern Queensland and will generate approximately 380,000 MWh of electricity a year – enough to power more than 53,000 homes with clean energy.
It is co-located on the same property originally developed by Solar Choice, that also includes the 57.5MW Hamilton solar farm, and the 57.5MW Whitsunday solar farm, now being developed by Wirsol.
Origin said on Thursday it had signed a PPA to buy all the solar farm’s output and RECs until 2030, as part of its effort to source 25 per cent of its generation mix from renewables by 2020, up from 10 per cent today.
Including the Queensland project, Origin has committed to a total of 1,200MW of new renewable energy generation since March 2016.
“Daydream will be the latest solar farm to get the go-ahead after being backed by a PPA with Origin, following similar agreements with Australia’s largest solar development, Bungala in South Australia, as well as Moree in New South Wales and Darling Downs solar farm in Queensland,” said Origin CEO Frank Calabria.
“Renewables are now the lowest cost new generation and with the rapid increase in renewable supply not just by Origin but the broader market, we expect to see this start to put downwards pressure on prices for customers.”
Just yesterday, Origin was one of a group of Australian energy retailers to take part in a “frank discussion” with the PM about soaring electricity prices – and how retailer practices might be making a bad situation worse for consumers.
But both Calabria and fellow utility chief, AGL Energy’s Andy Vesey, were keen to re-assert their belief that an increased supply of cheap renewable energy generation was the most crucial ingredient for lowering the cost of electricity.
“Let’s be clear,” said Calabria, in a statement after the Wednesday meeting, “to deliver a genuine reduction in prices for Australians we must also find a way through on energy policy, including a Clean Energy Target.”
Edify Energy chief executive John Cole said the Origin PPA was a milestone for Edify’s growing Australian business.
“Supported by the PPA with Origin, Daydream Solar Farm will be another step forward in the decarbonisation of Australia’s energy sector. We look forward to making the project a reality and working closely with Origin,” he said.
The 150MW solar farm will use a single-axis tracking technology allowing the panels to follow the path of the sun, to maximise generation capacity throughout the day.
Construction is expected to begin “shortly,” with the aim of generating electricity by mid-2018.