Maoneng will develop 300 MW of solar in New South Wales, having signed Australia’s largest ever PPA with AGL. Energy retailer AGL this week announced that the solar projects form a major part of its plan to replace Liddell Power Station.
The bulk of the capacity will come from the 200 MW Sunraysia PV plant, set to begin construction in the second quarter of 2018, located close to Balranald. Maoneng has previously signed an MoU with Decmil, which is set to provide EPC services for the project.
The remainder of the capacity will be covered by other projects which Maoneng has in development within the state. The developer also says it will consider the acquisition of ‘further shovel ready projects’ to fulfil the balance of the contract.
The contract with Maoneng forms a part of AGL’s newly announced plan to replace the Liddell Power Plant, a coal fired power station set to close in 2022. Solar projects under the contract will be combined with gas peak generation, battery storage and demand response, as well as efficiency upgrades at Bayswater Power Station, another of the state’s coal fired generation facilities.
AGL’s assessment of the plan found that replacing the 500 MW capacity provided by Liddell was more economical than extending the coal plant to meet expected demand increases over the next years – AGL quotes energy prices of $83/MWh for the new plan, compared with $106/MWh for an extension of Liddell.
“This plan demonstrates that old power plants can be replaced with a mixture of new, cleaner technology, while improving reliability and affordability,” says AGL Chairman Graeme Hunt. “Decisions for the investments are staged to enable flexibility to respond to the changing needs of the market and improvements in technology over the next five years.
AGL also stated that it selling Liddell was not feasible, and that the coal plant would be repurposed to form part of its post 2022 strategy. The energy retailer also states that it provided seven years notice of the planned closure to avoid market volatility, and that it will not use forced redundancies when closing the plant in 2022.