Emu Downs Solar Farm Completed

The 20MW Emu Downs solar farm north of Perth, which is the largest solar farm in Western Australia and co-located with the 80MW Emu Downs wind farm and the under construction 130MW Badgingarra wind farm, has been completed. This will make the 230MW project the largest of its type, nationwide (for now!). It utilises single axis tracking technology from NextTracker and will help cover baseline power around lunchtime when wind patterns are weaker. 

Emu Downs Solar Farm / Wind Farm

Emu Downs Solar Farm Wind
Emu Downs Solar Farm (source: apa.com.au)

The Emu Downs wind + solar farm is the largest wind+solar project in Australia, beating the NSW Southern Tablelands’ Gullen Range Wind Farm and Gullen Solar Farm (165.5MW / 10MW respectively) It’s also bigger than the previous second biggest wind/solar  White Rock Wind Farm and the White Rock Solar Farm (175MW / 20MW), located New England Tablelands of NSW. 

APA received $5.5m funding from ARENA (Australian Renewable Energy Agency) back in 2017 for the 20 megawatt solar photovoltaic farm, also entering into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to sell the electricity and STCs to energy provider Synergy until 2030. 

This will make the Emu Downs facility the first of 12 large-scale solar farms ARENA funded – with three in NSW (Griffith, Parkes, and Dubbo) almost complete, according to RenewEconomy. Emu Downs’ $5.5m was part of $92m ARENA gave the 12 solar farms which will eventually output a massive 492MW. 

APA CEO Mick McCormack made a statement in a media release to thank ARENA for helping them get the Emu Downs Solar Farm up and running:

“APA is grateful for ARENA’s support over a number of years to get this exciting project, APA’s first solar farm, constructed and delivering an enhanced energy solution from our combined wind and solar farm.” 

APA also bought the Darling Downs Solar Farm from Origin in the middle of last year, and it’s expected to finished construction this year. 

Darling Downs Solar Farm sold by Origin to APA Group.

The Darling Downs Solar Farm, previously owned by Origin Energy Ltd, has been sold to pipelines owner APA Group. According to Sky News it was a $220 million deal.

The project (it isn’t built yet and is slated to reach completion in 2018) will be located near Dalby, next to an existing 644MW gas-fired generator. The PV Solar Farm will be constructed with 110MW capacity and Origin have already signed a 12 year purchase power agreement (from 2018 – 2030) to receive the energy output of the farm. The $220m project was the biggest to come out of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)’s recent large scale solar tender – receiving $20m from them to support the infrastructure. This funding will now go directly to APA to complete the project.

Darling Downs Solar Farm
PV Solar Farm Queensland (source: arena.gov.au)

Origin Energy and the Darling Downs Solar Farm

Origin CEO Frank Calabria has been quoted by saying that Origin have added more than 650MW of power to their portfolio recently and are confident they’ll be able to reach their share of the renewable energy target.

“We’re well on our way towards achieving our objective of building or contracting up to 1,500 MW of new large scale renewable generation by 2020. This will see Origin almost entirely replace the capacity of what was one of Australia’s largest carbon emitters, the recently retired Hazelwood power station, with 100 per cent renewable energy.”

Managing Director Mick McCormack was also quoted as showing how Origin is on board: “…we see investing in renewable energy as key to supporting Australia’s transition to a lower carbon economy”

APA Group

The Darling Downs Solar Farm is the second solar acquisition for APA Group – it’ll follow the Emu Downs Solar Farm facility in Western Australia. It will be built alongside the Emu Downs Wind Farm and was funded by ARENA as well, with $5.5m being awarded for the $20m 20MW Cervantes farm which will encompass 80,000 solar panels over 70 hectares. It is expected to be completed by this December.