Origin Vitality, one in every of Australia’s large three power gentailers, has snapped up practically 1 gigawatt of huge scale photo voltaic initiatives because it plans for a life with out coal after the deliberate closure of Eraring in 2025.
The purchases embrace a NSW challenge that has planning approval for as much as 900MW of capability, and it represents the corporate’s greatest funding in giant scale photo voltaic to this point, though it isn’t its first.
Origin first entered the photo voltaic business with its sick fated funding within the Sliver photo voltaic PV know-how firm a decade in the past – and this newest transfer represents a considerable shift from the informal “panels in paddocks” dismissal of huge scale photo voltaic PV by earlier administration.
The most important funding comes within the Riverina district of NSW, the place Origin has purchased the Yarrabee photo voltaic challenge that’s anticipated to construct a 450MW facility within the first stage, however has approval to go to 900MW.
Origin additionally revealed that it purchased – earlier this yr – the 74MW Carisbrook photo voltaic challenge in central Victoria, which is focused to achieve industrial operations in 2023, topic to a last funding choice and different required approvals.
“Origin goals to guide the power transition to internet zero emissions by way of cleaner power and buyer options, and the acquisition of the Yarrabee Photo voltaic Farm improvement challenge demonstrates additional progress on this ambition,” head of power markets Greg Jarvis mentioned.
“We imagine the Yarrabee Photo voltaic Farm can play an necessary position in serving to Origin present cleaner power to our clients, whereas additionally decreasing emissions from our technology portfolio.
“Our groups will now deal with progressing improvement actions previous to a last funding choice focused over the following couple of years, topic to upgrades to the Transgrid transmission community.
“Extra broadly, the workforce continues to deal with the multi-gigawatt alternative to develop renewable power and storage, by way of creating greenfield websites or buying superior stage pre-construction renewable initiatives like Yarrabee.”
It isn’t but clear what the possession construction of the photo voltaic initiatives shall be. Origin has a historical past of taking its photo voltaic and wind initiatives to a sure level, signing a long run off-take settlement, after which promoting the asset itself.
It did this with its first large funding in giant scale photo voltaic, the 100MW Darling Downs photo voltaic farm that it bought to APA, and the Stockyard Hill wind challenge that it bought to developer and turbine provider Goldwind.
The brand new photo voltaic investments are a part of Origin’s “refresh” that features its early exit from coal – with the Eraring closure quick tracked to 2025 from 2032 – its funding within the Eraring large battery and deliberate “multi-gigawatt” funding in renewables.
CEO Frank Calabria has mentioned that the possession constructions have been nonetheless being thought of. To listen to extra about that technique, please hearken to our recent interview with Calabria on the Energy Insiders podcast.
The Yarrabee photo voltaic farm is positioned close to Narrandera and was developed so far by Attain Vitality and PwC.
Attain, headed by former Hazelwood boss Tony Concannon, was additionally behind the event of South Australia’s greatest photo voltaic farm, the 220MW Bungala facility. Origin has a long run off-take settlement with Bungala, which is now owned by Italy’s Enel Inexperienced Energy.
Origin says Yarrabee sits in part of the transmission community which is focused for substantial upgrades to facilitate Snowy 2.0 and the NSW authorities’s proposed South-West Renewable Vitality Zone.
The challenge initially envisaged a 35MW/70MWh battery storage set up, utilizing Tesla know-how, however it isn’t clear what Origin’s intention is in the meanwhile for battery storage on the facility.
Giles Parkinson is founder and editor of Renew Economy, and can be the founding father of One Step Off The Grid and founder/editor of the EV-focused The Driven. Giles has been a journalist for 40 years and is a former enterprise and deputy editor of the Australian Monetary Evaluate.