New Green Deal for Esperance includes large-scale solar

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Western Australia’s (WA) regional utility Horizon Power has awarded a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to Contract Power Australia (CPA) for the supply of electricity to the town of Esperance. The new energy solution could cut greenhouse gas emissions in half and reduce the cost of electricity to local consumers by up to 39%.

What is more, the deal will see the construction of the utility’s largest solar farm, a 4 MW array in which Horizon Power hopes to encourage shared community ownership.

CPA will deliver a hybrid energy generation solution including centralised solar, battery storage, wind and gas-fired generation. Horizon Power’s CEO Stephanie Unwin said this long-term power solution for Esperance includes a new power station, battery storage system and renewables hub.

The renewables hub, a central feature of the new project, is set to bring together a 4 MW solar farm and two new wind turbines to generate up to 46% of Esperance’s annual electricity. “This is an excellent outcome for our Esperance customers,” said Unwin.

The 4 MW solar array will consist of more than 10,000 solar panels, making it the largest solar farm in the WA regional utility’s renewable portfolio. “Horizon Power recognises the Esperance community’s strong support for renewable energy,” said Unwin. “Not only are we doubling the amount of renewable energy being provided to our customers, we will also be exploring, in consultation with the community, their interest in, and the possibility of, a future shared ownership model for the solar farm.”

The project will also see the construction of a new, more efficient power station which Horizon Power expects to reduce carbon emissions by almost 50% per annum. WA Energy Minister Bill Johnston commended the deal and its “state-of-the-art renewables hub”, noting the deal aligns with the Government’s “aims to deliver cleaner, greener energy to regional communities.”

CPA is set to begin construction in September 2020, and the project is expected to be completed in November 2021.