Sydney-based renewable energy developer Epuron had planned to build a 5 MW solar farm on the former South Fremantle rubbish tip site but has now conceded after five years of investigations that the project is not feasible or commercially viable.
The Fremantle Solar Farm was to be built on a 19.4-hectare landfill site majority owned by the City of Fremantle but Epuron has been unable to negotiate a power purchase agreement with an electricity retailer.
The developer, which had full approval to proceed with construction, recently suggested the City of Fremantle take on a different business partner for the project, but a council committee was this week asked to go even further and terminate the project.
In a submission to the council’s Finance, Policy, Operations and Legislation Committee, the Director of Strategic Planning and Projects said Epuron had earlier this year inquired about transferring the project to another commercial entity, “effectively indicating that Epuron no longer wished to proceed with the project”.
The report blamed “market conditions in the wholesale and retail electricity markets” for Epuron’s inability to secure an offtake agreement for the power that would be generated on the site, acknowledging it was a critical requirement for the project to proceed.
“Given that in over five years Epuron has not been able to bring the project to fruition, city officers are not confident that another party would be more successful in progressing the project and executing a lease in a timely manner,” the report reads.
“Therefore, officers consider it is now an appropriate time to terminate any further work by the city on trying to facilitate development of a solar farm at the South Fremantle landfill site.”
Epuron, recently acquired by Ark Energy, has developed more than 3 GW of wind and solar capacity around the country with about 1 GW of that now operating or under construction.
Among its developments are the 75 MW Clermont Solar Farm in Queensland, since sold to German-owned developer Wirsol, and the 105 MW Nevertire Solar Farm in north-west NSW, which was purchased by Elliott Green Power in 2018.
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