BlueScope Steel have signed the largest ever solar power purchasing deal by an industrial energy user in Australia today. They’ll buy around 200 gigawatt-hours of electricity a year – allowing ESCO to commence stage 1 of its 133MW Finley solar farm.
Finley Solar Farm and BlueScope Steel
The seven-year contract signed between the Finley Solar Farm (which will be manufactured by ESCO Pacific in the NSW Riverina area) and BlueScope Steel will represent 20% of BlueScope’s energy requirements.
John Nowlan, the head of Australian steel at BlueScope, said the contract will be a step in the right direction while they continue to support the National Energy Guarantee and rely less and less on non-renewable energy:
“(The contract) will help keep downward pressure on our energy costs, and will support the gradual transition to renewable energy,” Mr Nowlan told the Australian Financial Review.
“BlueScope supports Australia’s 2030 emissions target, including the government’s target to reduce electricity sector emissions by 26% on 2005 levels by 2030. By investing in solar energy, we are helping accelerate the decarbonisation of the electricity grid by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by around 300,000 tonnes of CO2e each year. This is comparable to taking 90,000 cars off the road and is enough to power 60,000 homes.” he continued.
This is another great step in the right direction for commercial solar – where we have seen industrial energy users such as Telstra, data centre operator Equinix and Mars Australia sign deals directly with renewable developers. These are known as solar PPAs (Purchase Power Agreements) and can save 20-50% on bills, depending on various factors such as usage and location.
“For any serious corporate off-taker or energy user a solar PPA is a good part of the energy mix,” said ESCO Pacific managing director Steve Rademaker.
“It’s not the only solution but it goes a long way to helping manage costs.”
This is more good news for solar power in resources – it’ll be great to watch companies like BlueScope move from 0%, to 20%, and hopefully eventually to 100% renewable energy.
Construction on the Finley Solar Farm is set to commence around the end of September, with production scheduled for mid-2019.
If you’d like to read the press release from BlueScope please click here.