Iberdrola has committed to building its first standalone solar PV farm in Australia after purchasing the Avonlie Solar Farm project near Narrandera, in the Riverina region of southern New South Wales (NSW).
Construction on the project, which received planning consent from the state government in 2019, is expected to begin later this year with initial energisation expected before the end of 2022.
When operational, more than 450,000 solar modules mounted on single axis tracking systems will generate approximately 500 GWh of electricity annually, equivalent to powering more than 80,000 Australian households and avoiding over 157,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.
Iberdrola Australia managing director Ross Rolfe said the acquisition of the Avonlie Solar Farm is a part of the company’s strategy for the region with Australia identified as a priority market for the Spanish energy utility.
Iberdrola, which acquired Infigen Energy in 2020, has established itself as a major player in Australia’s renewable energy market with more than 800 MW operating capacity, 453 MW under construction and a development pipeline of over 1 GW.
Much of its focus has been on wind energy with seven operational wind farms totalling over 670 MW but there has been a shift towards solar and energy storage.
Earlier this month Iberdrola installed the final wind turbine at the almost 320 MW Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park (PAREP) in South Australia. The $500 million project, which combines 207 MW of wind and 110 MW of solar is the first hybrid solar+wind power plant undertaken by Iberdrola.
It has also entered into a user agreement with TransGrid in relation to the 50 MW/75 MWh Wallgrove Grid Battery in NSW.
“We are seeing a rapidly growing number of commercial and industrial customers adopting net zero targets and transitioning to 100% renewable electricity contracts,” Rolfe said.
“At Iberdrola Australia we invest not only in low-cost renewables, like the Avonlie Solar Farm, but also flexible, fast-start firming capacity, ensuring the electricity system remains reliable as renewable penetration grows.
“This optimised portfolio enables us to provide our growing customer base with long-term electricity contracts that are at once reliable, affordable and clean.”
The Avonlie Solar Farm is the largest solar project developed by RES which recently sold the 180 MW Dulacca Wind Farm in Queensland to Octopus Energy after securing a PPA with publicly owned energy generator CleanCo.
RES chief executive Matt Rebbeck said the company has a development portfolio of more than 4.7 GW in Australia and an asset management portfolio of over 1.2 GW.
“Having delivered multiple large-scale renewable energy projects in Australia, with over 1.21 GW of projects now in construction or operational, RES is delighted to progress another project in NSW,” he said.
“The Avonlie Solar Farm will create more than 230 full time local jobs during construction and provide significant regional benefits and deliver on our vision of a future where everyone has access to affordable zero carbon energy”.
The project will directly connect to a dual 132 kV grid connection which passes through the project site about 20 kilometres south of Narrandera.
Lumea will deliver the grid connection services for the life of the project.
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