Genesis and joint venture partner FRV Australia have confirmed three sites covering 740 hectares on New Zealand’s North Island for large-scale solar farms as part of plans to deliver up to 500 MW of solar capacity in the next three years.
The joint venture plans to develop solar farms in the Manawatu, Waikato and Hawke’s Bay regions, with the facilities delivering an expected capacity of 200 MW, 100 MW and 100 MW respectively.
Genesis General Manager of Commercial Development, Craig Brown, said the $555 million (NZD 600 million) investment will make the government-backed gen-tailer the largest solar generator in the country by some margin.
“This is really demonstrating our commitment to develop solar for the New Zealand market and to enable us to displace thermal generation and increase the renewable portions in our market,” he said.
“We’d like to think that we’re really well positioned to play a leading role in solar and ultimately that’s our goal.”
“From Genesis’ perspective the combination of solar plus wind, our existing hydro, geothermal and other renewable sources, will give Genesis and New Zealand the balance that it needs.”
Brown said while the projects remain subject to regulatory processes, Genesis is targeting financial investment decisions within the next 18 to 24 months with the first of the projects expected to be generating electricity by 2026.
The announcement comes after Genesis and FRV Australia earlier this year confirmed they would develop a 52 MW solar farm near Lauriston on NZ’s South Island.
Genesis said the Lauriston project remains on track with a final investment decision expected before the end of the year.
“Construction will commence shortly after with the first generation of electricity expected in late 2024,” it said.
The solar projects form part of the Genesis and FRV Australia joint venture which was formed in late 2021 to develop up to 500 MW of solar capacity over the next five years. This is expected to generate about 750 GWh per annum.
The solar program is part of Genesis’ Future-gen initiative which aims to displace 2,650 GWh of baseload thermal generation with new renewable power by 2030.
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