Enel, through a joint venture between the group’s fully-owned renewable energy subsidiary Enel Green Power S.p.A. (EGP) and Dutch Infrastructure Fund (DIF), has closed an agreement to acquire Bungala Solar One, the first 137.5 MWDC phase of the 275 MWDC Bungala Solar PV project, which is currently the largest ready-to-build solar PV project in Australia, from Bungala Solar Holding Pty Ltd., a subsidiary of Australian developer Reach Solar Energy Pty Ltd.
The purchase of Bungala Solar Two, the second phase of the project, is expected to be closed in the third quarter of this year. The Bungala Solar project is located near Port Augusta in South Australia.
The joint venture’s total investment in the 275 MW project is around US$315 million, including project construction, with Enel contributing around US$157 million. The total investment will be financed through a mix of equity and project finance with a consortium of local and international banks. The project is fully contracted with a long-term power purchase agreement with Origin Energy, a major Australian utility.
Construction works at Bungala Solar One are expected to begin by mid-2017, followed by Bungala Solar Two, whose construction will start by the end of this year. The overall 275 MW project will be fully operational by the third quarter of 2018.
The Bungala Solar project is designed to generate around 570 GWh a year, equivalent to the consumption needs of approximately 82,000 Australian households, avoiding the emission of about 520,000 tonnes of CO2.
Australia is a country of great interest for the Enel Group due to its abundance of renewable sources (in particular sun and wind), a growing demand for renewable energy, its network infrastructure and the existing regulatory framework as evidenced by the Federal Government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) programme. RET has set a target of having 23.5% of energy generated from renewable sources by 2020 and is complemented by State-level initiatives aimed at increasing renewable energy generation through a tender-based mechanism.
Francesco Starace, Enel CEO and General Manager, said:
“The acquisition of Australia’s largest PV project, which takes us onto a new continent, is an important step forward for the Enel Group. The Australian renewable energy market is characterized by abundant resources and growing demand. Enel will work to harness these resources and contribute to the Australian economy, generating shared value for all our stakeholders through a strategy that delivers industrial growth built upon a foundation of sustainable development.”