Octopus Group partners with CEFC to accelerate solar farm projects


Octopus Australia and the government-owned Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) have partnered in a joint venture to accelerate the development of the proposed 44 MW Perry Bridge Solar Farm and the nearby 80 MW Fulham Solar Farm planned for eastern Victoria.

The Perry Bridge Solar Farm, a 44 MW solar PV and 50 MWh battery project, has already secured planning approval from the Victorian government while the planning process has commenced for the Fulham Solar Farm, a proposed 80 MW solar PV facility and 80 MWh battery energy storage system set to be developed about 12 kilometres west of Sale.

Octopus Australia and the CEFC have purchased the rights to develop the projects from Melbourne-based management team Solis Renewable Energy which, along with Gippsland-based Marathon Electrical and construction firm WK & MA Ferguson, is part of the  Repowering Gippsland joint venture.

Octopus Australia’s head of investment and development, Dennis Freedman, said the three parties will be working closely together to bring the projects to financial close.

“They have a vision for their region and we are excited to work alongside them to turn it into reality,” he said.

Victoria’s Gippsland region has a rich history in energy generation, producing approximately 85% of the state’s electricity but it is undergoing a transition due to the decline of coal-based generation.

Octopus Australia’s Managing Director Sam Reynolds said with the early retirement of the Yallourn coal-fired power station having been announced recently, the Perry Bridge and Fulham developments form part of the suite of new energy generation that will be required to replace the asset.

Reynolds said the projects offer an exciting new pathway for the Gippsland community to benefit from the clean energy economy.

“Gippsland has its roots in the electricity industry, and these projects help the region continue that journey,” he said.

“As the first renewable energy projects to be built at scale in the region, the Perry Bridge and Fulham solar farms symbolise how the region can be transformed into a green energy powerhouse for the 21st century.”

Octopus Australia is a subsidiary of the United Kingdom-based Octopus Group, self-described as one of the world’s largest investors in clean energy with more than $6 billion deployed across more than 250 projects.

The Darlington Point Solar Farm forms part of Octopus Australia’s portfolio.

Image: Edify

The Perry Bridge and Fulham solar farms will bolster its Australian portfolio which already includes joint ownership of the 275 MW Darlington Point Solar Farm in western New South Wales, currently the largest solar farm generating into the National Electricity Market (NEM).

The development, construction and operation of the Perry Bridge and Fulham solar farms is expected to create more than 250 direct jobs during the construction period.

The projects are also expected to showcase the ability of sheep grazing and solar farming to co-exist, providing a diversified revenue stream to local landholders.

Reynolds said the experience of the CEFC would be crucial to the successful delivery of the two projects.

“Through its investments, the CEFC has helped Australia’s renewable energy sector achieve rapid growth in recent years, delivering substantial amounts of clean energy across Australia,” he said.

“This experience will be critical as we develop these renewable energy assets for Gippsland.”

CEFC executive director Monique Miller said the ongoing investment in new, clean generation, storage, transmission and infrastructure is critical to support the security and reliability of Australia’s energy grid.

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