CEFC invests $51 million in Victorian solar farm

Wednesday, 19 June, 2019

CEFC invests $51 million in Victorian solar farm

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has announced a $51 million stake in the Kiamal Solar Farm, boosting its investments in Australia’s large-scale solar sector to more than $1 billion.

The 200 MW Kiamal Solar Farm, located near Ouyen, marks international developer Total Eren’s first project in Australia and is expected to be the largest PV power plant in Victoria. With more than 718,000 PV panels with single-axis trackers covering some 500 hectares of land, it is expected to produce enough electricity to meet the needs of more than 133,500 homes and displace more than 610,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

Total Eren will include a 190 MVAr synchronous condenser as part of the Kiamal generating system, facilitating a timely connection to the Victorian Transmission System, as well as strengthening the grid in the north-western Victoria area for the longer term. The company is also working with TransGrid to deliver the 220 kV Kiamal Terminal Station and Collector Substation, with two 180 MVA transformers designed and manufactured locally by Wilsons Transformers in Victoria.

The CEFC’s investment in the project extends its push into equity following earlier investments in Queensland’s Ross River Solar Farm and Tasmania’s Granville Harbour Wind Farm.

“This exciting project will contribute to a stronger and more reliable grid, able to accommodate an increasing share of low-emissions solar energy in the future,” said CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth.

“While Australia’s world-leading potential in solar energy in well known, the reality is that we require considerable new investment to take advantage of this low-cost and low-emissions energy resource.

“The CEFC continues to play a central role in working alongside exciting new investors such as Total Eren as a way of increasing the flow of capital into our clean energy transition. We’re also seeing new opportunities for the CEFC to invest in projects as an equity partner, allowing us to diversify our own investment portfolio for the longer term.”

Kiamal has secured power purchase agreements (PAA) with Mars Australia and energy retailers Alinta Energy and Flow Power. It also will supply energy to Zero Emissions Water, a new entity representing 13 Victorian water corporations, and deliver large-scale generation certificates for retailer Origin Energy.

Learmonth added: “The CEFC is pleased to support the innovative approach to offtake contracting reflected in the Kiamal project. The use of multiple power purchase agreements demonstrates the potential for a diverse group of customers to hedge their energy costs while supporting the development of new large-scale renewable energy projects.

“We are confident this is a model that can be embraced by more manufacturers, commercial enterprises and government agencies as they explore ways to further control energy costs as well as lower their emissions.”

The Kiamal development is expected to reach commercial operation later this year.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Ingo Bartussek

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