Wagga Solar Farm extension enabled by PPA despite Indigenous artefact destruction

Mytilineos solar farm


Greek company Mytilineos, which acquired Metka EGN in 2019 to form a separate division called Renewables and Storage Development Business Unit, will add a 23 MW extension to its Wagga Wagga Solar Farm.

The extension, which the company is calling Wagga 2, is a separate project that will be located next to Wagga Wagga Solar Farm (Wagga 1) and share common connection infrastructure, a spokesperson for Mytilineos told pv magazine Australia.

The solar farm made news in January after Indigenous stone manufacturing artefacts and hunting tools were destroyed while earthworks were conducted at the site. The company was fined $1500 for breaching its Aboriginal Heritage Impact Permit following the discovery.

Wiradjuri man Mark Saddler told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation the fine was far too low, saying it showed a complete disrespect for the cultural importance of the artefacts.

Metka EGN told pv magazine Australia that it “deeply regrets” the breach and has offered its unreserved apologies to the local Indigenous community. “At no time did Metka EGN intentionally damage Aboriginal objects. This incident was caused by an administrative error and, when potential disturbance of Aboriginal objects by preliminary works was identified, it immediately ceased all activity and self-reported the incident to the Department,” it said.

Metka EGN is committed to following cultural heritage best-practice at all of its Australian projects, including early engagement with local Indigenous representatives. Since this incident, Metka EGN has improved internal protocols and procedures to ensure such an administrative error cannot be repeated and has commissioned cultural awareness training for all Wagga site employees, as well as subcontractors and service providers.”

Wagga Wagga Solar Farm: the project and its blockchain-enabled PPA

Information about the Wagga Wagga Solar Farm is still available on the website of its original owner, Terrain Solar. Terrain Solar subsequently sold the project to Metka EGN which was absorbed into Mytilineos’ Renewables and Storage Development Business Unit in June 2019.

The 23 MW extension to the project was enabled by a 10-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) which Mytilineos signed with QEnergy, owned by Ion Limited, this week. Under the deal, QEnergy will purchase the majority of energy produced at Mytilineos’ Wagga North Solar Farm (Wagga 2), equipping the company to begin the extension this year.

The PPA, which allows organisations to lock in a price for electricity over an extended period, was secured through WePower’s energy trading platform, which is based on blockchain technology.

Mytilineos said the platform enabled it to introduce a new approach and method for buying and selling energy based on extroversion and innovation for the first time in Greece. WePower’s energy procurement platform is one of the largest of its kind and allows international transactions, making it particularly useful for companies like Mytilineos which has many international projects and has been vocal about wanting to extend its reach even further into the Australian market.

Having worked through WePower’s standardised contracts and processes on the Wagga transaction, we envisage using WePower to market and contract other projects in our growing pipeline,” General Manager of the RSD Business Unit, Nikos Papapetrou, said in a statement.

The growing pipeline Papapetrou is referring to includes the 110 MW Moura Solar Farm in Queensland which Mytilineos acquired in December 2020. That very same month, the Greek company also bought the 75 MW Wyalong Solar Farm in New South Wales, both of which have PPAs in place – most notably with supermarket giant Coles.

Mytilineos also has another 120 MW in its Australian pipeline, with three projects under construction in NSW. As of December 2020, the company’s Australian portfolio sat at 400 MW.

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