Esco confirms sale of ‘shovel-ready’ 125MW Victorian solar farm

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Melbourne-based renewable energy project developer and asset manager Esco Pacific has confirmed Pacific Partnerships, a subsidiary of the Sydney-headquartered construction and engineering firm Cimic Group, has acquired the development rights to the “shovel-ready” 125MWp Glenrowan Solar Farm.

Pacific Partnerships through its energy business, Pacific Partnerships Energy, will develop, invest in, and manage Glenrowan Solar Farm with fellow Cimic Group company UGL to undertake construction, operations and maintenance. Cimic said this week that UGL has already started early works for the project, including design, procurement and construction planning. The project, which has a committed grid connection in place, is expected to commence operations by the end of 2023. Esco will remain involved with the project after signing a long-term asset management contract for the solar farm.

Esco managing director Steven Rademaker said the Glenrowan project is one of seven solar farms totalling more than 800MW that the company has now developed and delivered in the Australian market. Esco also has a project pipeline in excess of 2GW across the National Electricity Market (NEM) and is the asset manager for a 670MWp portfolio of operational utility scale solar projects.

“Achieving this milestone on our Glenrowan Solar Farm is a fantastic outcome for Esco Pacific, bringing our developed project capacity to 820MWp of utility scale solar in Australia and cementing our position as one of the leading developers in the market,” Rademaker said.

“Our team has shown that we can continue to develop and deliver high-quality assets to market, while working with a new Australian solar equity investor.

“We are delighted to have delivered this shovel-ready project to Pacific Partnerships, and we welcome the commencement of construction activities.”

The Glenrowan Solar Farm is the first large-scale solar farm to be owned and developed by CIMIC Group as principal withPacific Partnerships managing director Simon Nicholls revealing the company is now pursuing large-scale renewable generation, storage and generation assets.

“The acquisition of the development rights to Glenrowan Solar Farm is part of our strategy to establish a diversified portfolio of energy and utilities assets within the National Electricity Market,” he said.

The Glenrowan Solar Farm, being developed on a 245-hectare site about two kilometres south-west of the township, is expected to generate more than 260GWh of clean energy per year, enough to power approximately 45,000 Victorian homes.

Victorian network utility AusNet Services has been appointed by Pacific Partnerships to deliver the new grid connection infrastructure.

AusNet said it will, along with its construction partners, design, build, own and operate the transmission assets for the solar farm.

AusNet will build approximately five kilometres of new 33kV grid connection assets from the solar farm to the Glenrowan Terminal Station. AusNet will also install a new 120MVA transformer at the terminal station. Detailed design work is currently underway, with construction expected to commence later this year.

AusNet chief development officer Chad Hymas said the project will be the third renewable energy generator to connect to AusNet’s network in the Glenrowan area.

German investment company Wirtgen Invest’s 149MWp Glenrowan West Solar Farm came online while Spanish renewables developer Fotowatio Renewable Ventures 85MW Winton Solar Farm has also been connected.

“We are proud to be supporting Victoria’s transition to renewable energy,” Hymas said. “We are supporting local jobs and delivering …a more sustainable future for Victoria.”

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