Origin has reached financial close on the Bungala Solar Project, in Port Augusta in South Australia, bringing its recent commitments to new utility-scale solar projects to 550MW.

Origin has agreed to buy all of the renewable power from the plant, putting it on track to meet its commitment to build or contract between 1,000MW and 1,500MW of large-scale renewable energy by 2020.

Origin CEO Frank Calabria said, “In the past year we have underpinned approximately 550MW of new renewable energy projects, representing approximately one third of the capacity of the recently retired Hazelwood Power Station.

“Our ambition to build or contract up to 1,500MW of new renewables by 2020, almost replacing the Hazelwood capacity entirely, will be crucial to delivering the clean and reliable energy supply Australian homes and businesses are demanding.”

Origin’s agreement to buy all of the renewable power from the Bungala Solar Project is the company’s largest ever solar power purchase agreement. It will also acquire the associated Large Scale Generation Certificates.

Other recent offtake agreements for renewable power were signed with Moree, Lakeland and Clare solar farms.

At 220MW, the Bungala Solar Project in Port Augusta will be one of the largest solar farms in Australia. The Bungala Solar Project is being developed by Reach Solar and is owned by consortium partners ENEL Green Power S.p.A and the Dutch Infrastructure Fund.

Having reached financial close, Bungala is expected to shortly begin construction.

Origin expects to start receiving power from the first stage of the solar farm’s development in time for the summer of 2017/2018. The entire 220MW is expected to be operational by August 2018.

“Origin is delighted to be an active supporter of Bungala Solar Project. By putting in place a long-term contract to purchase all of the solar power Bungala produces, we have played an important role in helping it reach financial close, Mr Calabria said.

“Bungala’s development will mean more jobs in Port Augusta and will also contribute to improved energy security in South Australia, as solar is a more predictable form of renewable energy than wind.”

Mr Calabria said recent events in South Australia have demonstrated the importance of energy security, and identified the need for sufficient backup from gas-fired generation to balance the intermittency of renewable energy.

“Energy markets around the world are in transition and Australia is no different,” Mr Calabria said.

“We must make sure our energy supply is secure, as Australian homes and businesses rely on it. At the same time, we must make sure energy continues to be affordable as we move Australia towards a cleaner supply.

As a leading gas producer, we are also making sure gas is available for other peaking power stations. For example, last month we announced a gas supply deal with Engie to underpin the second generation unit of its Pelican Point power station, further supporting energy security in South Australia.

“Renewable energy and natural gas are complementary sources of energy, and are expected to play an increasingly important role in helping Australia achieve the right balance between energy security, affordability and sustainability.”

Lauren brings a fresh approach to content. While she’s previously written for publications as diverse as Australian Geographic, The Border Watch and Girlfriend, she’s found her true passion in her current role as an editor in the world of energy and infrastructure trade magazines.

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