Enel inks deal to acquire 1 GW wind and solar project

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Renewables developer Enel Green Power Australia (EGPA) has signed a binding agreement to buy the proposed 1 GW Julia Creek Renewables Project being developed by minerals company QEM alongside its vanadium mining and oil shale project in northwest Queensland.

The Julia Creek project is a 1 GW solar and wind farm that would not only deliver energy to the proposed mine but also hook into the $5 billion CopperString transmission line linking Mt Isa to Townsville and the national grid.

Under the project sale agreement (PSA), EGPA will pay $3 million to acquire wind and solar monitoring equipment, more than 18 months of data, and intellectual property regarding engineering, environmental, geotechnical, flood plain and other project studies.

EGPA will also make two contingent payments totalling $4 million that will be payable in separate tranches upon the project achieving key development milestones. It has also agreed to pay QEM a revenue-based royalty of up to 2% generated by the Julia Creek renewables project, starting from its commercial operations date.

The PSA also provides QEM with the option to take up a 10-year power purchase agreement for the supply of up to 25 MW firm capacity to supply its mine operations.

QEM Managing Director Gavin Loyden said the sale is a major boost for the company, Julia Creek and the North West Minerals Province.

“In addition to the direct benefits for QEM in having access to renewable power for our vanadium project, the whole region will enjoy significant direct and indirect benefits from this scale of development,” he said.

EGPA Chief Executive Officer Werther Esposito said the proposed project has the potential to be one of Queensland’s largest renewable energy projects, capable of making a significant contribution to achieving the state’s renewable energy targets.

Esposito also said he expects the project to contribute to significant supply and employment opportunities for the surrounding community, creating a positive economic impact on the local area throughout the project’s development, construction, and operational phases.

EGPA, jointly owned by Italian utilities major Enel and Japanese oil and gas giant Inpex, already has a significant portfolio of wind, solar, storage and hybrid projects in operation and under development across Australia.

EGPA’s operational assets include the 34 MW Cohuna Solar Farm in Victoria and its 51% stake in the Bungala 1 and Bungala 2 solar farms, which deliver a combined 220 MW of generation capacity into the grid in South Australia. It has also commenced construction on the 93 MW Girgarre Solar Farm in central Victoria and the 76 MW Flat Rocks wind farm in Western Australia.

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