FRV’s Goonumbla Solar Farm fully operational despite market challenges


Despite challenges arising from the outbreak of Covid-19 and Australia-specific grid woes, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) has announced that its 69.75 MW Goonumbla Solar Farm in New South Wales has completed construction and started feeding electricity into the grid. The project output has been contracted under a power purchase agreement with Snowy Hydro as part of its Renewable Energy Procurement Program launched to put downward pressure on wholesale energy prices.

Located about 10 km west of the town of Parkes and 280 km northwest of Sydney, the plant is now connected to the national grid and produces approximately 195,000 MWh of clean energy per year, enough to supply energy to more than 45,000 Australian households. Its construction has seen the creation of up to 250 jobs, seven of which are remaining now that the plant is operational.

Goonumbla is one of the eight projects contracted by Snowy Hydro in a major renewable energy tender held in 2018. The government-owned energy provider contracted a total of 888 MW of wind and solar energy under long term off-take arrangements at less than $70/MWh, which undercut the wholesale price of electricity. One year later, FRV secured financing for the project. The debt was provided by ING and DZ Bank with the latter providing the lion’s share.

“We are glad to successfully deliver this project which is our first PPA with Snowy Hydro,” Carlo Frigerio, Managing Director of FRV in Australia, said. “It proves that a consolidated player like FRV is capable to deliver top quality solar farms notwithstanding the increased challenges in the Australian renewable energy market and generally in a moment of global turmoil.”

The Spanish developer inked its second PPA with the government-owned for the 90 MW Sebastopol Solar Farm in the Riverina region in March this year. FRV bought the project, which is presently under construction, from German developer and EPC contractor Ib vogt.

Snowy Hydro’s CEO, Paul Broad, welcomed FRV’s announcement on Wednesday saying that the retailer has contracted over 1,000 MW of green energy projects, Goonumbla being one of them. “To complement the deployment of intermittent renewables technologies into the grid and to help firm them up, we are committed to the development of the 2,000MW pumped storage hydro Snowy 2.0 project which is moving full steam ahead,” he said. The massive project cleared all regulatory hurdles in June after being granted the federal approval despite environmental fears.

“We look forward to working with FRV on further renewables projects and being able to take this renewable energy and sell it to commercial and industrial customers who are seeking cost effective, long term clean energy contracts,” Broad said.

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