Australian electricity generator and retailer Origin Energy has snapped up the planned 60 MW Yanco Solar Farm and battery energy storage project being developed by German large-scale solar outfit ib vogt GmbH near Leeton in the Riverina region.
Origin’s Energy Supply and Operations executive general manager Greg Jarvis confirmed the energy major, the owner of the ageing 2.8 GW Eraring power plant at Lake Macquarie in New South Wales (NSW), has purchased the renewable energy project as it prepares for a future without coal.
“This week we took a further step on our journey to build Origin’s renewable energy portfolio, acquiring the 60 MW Yanco Solar Farm in south-central NSW from European renewables developer ib vogt,” he said.
The estimated $99.3 million Yanco project is proposed for development on a 152-hectare site on the outskirts of Leeton. The 60 MW solar farm is planned to be co-located with on-site battery storage units of up to 81 MW rated capacity.
“Yanco is at an advanced stage with land tenure, planning consent and a connection agreement in place and is targeting commercial operations in the first half of the calendar year 2024,” Jarvis said.
Origin, which earlier this year announced the Eraring power station will be closed in August 2025, seven years earlier than previously scheduled, said the “transaction is further demonstration of our progress in accelerating the growth of renewables”.
The purchase of the Yanco project comes just months after Origin acquired the 900 MW Yarrabee Solar Farm development also in the Riverina region and the 74 MW Carisbrook Solar Farm in central Victoria.
The Carisbrook solar project, which was also developed by ib vogt, is targeted to reach commercial operations in 2023. No completion date has yet been announced for the Yarrabee project, which was originally co-developed by Reach Solar Energy and PwC Australia.
Origin said its Commercial Transactions and Generation & Development teams are now progressing these projects towards financial investment decisions and exploring additional opportunities to grow its portfolio of renewables and storage projects.
The new solar investments are part of Origin’s plans for “multi-gigawatt” growth in renewable energy this decade as it prepares to replace the capacity set to be withdrawn from the grid with the impending closure of the Eraring power station.
As well as building out a fleet of solar PV generators, Origin has secured planning approval for a 700 MW/2.8 GWh grid-connected battery to be developed at the site of the Eraring power station near Newcastle by the end of this year.
Origin also plans to grow its in-house virtual power plant (VPP) – comprising rooftop solar installs, electric vehicles and batteries linked to demand-management technology to control electricity flows – from about 200 MW to 2 GW.
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