Victorian auction winners outline construction plans

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The results of Victoria’s inaugural reverse auction were released yesterday, showing the government had approved a total of 928 MW of renewable energy capacity, including three wind and three solar farms. The developers are now gearing up to deliver on their part of the bargain.

Solar projects

Module manufacturing heavyweight Canadian Solar is developing the largest solar project approved in the auction – the 100 MWAC Carwarp Solar Farm located near Mildura.

The company plans to commence construction of the project in Q1 2019 and achieve commercial operation in Q1 2020. It announced plans to deploy its bifacial modules coupled with trackers, which will generate 267,000 MWh of electricity every year, equivalent to powering approximately 48,000 homes    

“We are pleased to secure the prestigious award from the Victorian Government for the Carwarp Solar Project,” commented Shawn Qu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Solar, noting that the Victorian RE auction was a highly competitive tender process.

Spanish developer Fotowatio Renewables Ventures (FRV) has been awarded Victoria’s government support for the 85 MWAC Winton Solar Farm, which is the company’s fifth large-scale solar project in Australia. 

The project is scheduled to break ground in Q1 2019 , and once operational it will produce enough energy to supply approximately 50,000 homes. FRV estimates around 150 workers will be required to build the plant.

Apart from Winton Solar Farm, the company has developed and built the operational plants of Royalla (20 MW AC) in the Australian Capital Territory, Moree (56 MW AC) in New South Wales and Clare (100 MW AC) in Queensland. In addition FRV is about to finish the construction of the Lilyvale solar plant (100 MW AC) in Queensland.

The total value of FRV’s solar investments in the Australian renewable energy sector now stands at around $850 million.

Enel Green Power Australia, a subsidiary of Italy’s energy giant, announced it has been awarded a 15-year support agreement from Victoria for the generation of energy and green certificates from the 34 MW Cohuna Solar Farm.

The company says it will invest around US$42 million (AU$59 million) in the construction of the facility, which is due to begin in in the first half of 2019.

The project, which will be co-developed with local developer Leeson Group, is slated to enter commercial operation by the end of 2019.

EGP is already present in Australia, where it has recently connected to the grid the first 45 MW feeder of the 137.7 MW[2] Bungala Solar One PV plant. The facility is part of the Bungala Solar PV Project, one of Australia’s most ambitious PV projects, located near Port Augusta, South Australia. Once operational, the overall Bungala Solar PV Project will have a total capacity of more than 275 MW.

Battery announcement

Spanish renewable energy developer Acciona Energy, which will deliver the 157.5 MW capacity Mortlake South wind farm, is planning to add storage at the site.

The project will incorporate a scalable battery energy storage system to help boost performance and integration into the electricity grid. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2019, with completion expected in mid-2020.

The tender held by the State of Victoria was launched in November 2017 for 650 MW of renewable capacity, of which 100 MW was earmarked for solar. That goal has been smashed, with the auction instead delivering 928 MW of renewable energy generating capacity – almost 45% more power than originally anticipated.

All winning projects are built under Victoria’s Renewable Energy Target (VRET) to source 25% of its electricity production from renewables by 2020 and 40% by 2025.