Snowy Hydro contracts 888 MW wind and solar power in Australia

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Snowy Hydro contracts 888 MW wind and solar power in Australia

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Australian energy provider Snowy Hydro has announced that it has signed Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) for eight wind and solar projects totalling 888 MW. Located across New South Wales and Victoria, states in the south-east of Australia, the projects are expected to generate about 2.8 terawatt hours of energy annually.

Snowy Hydro has not disclosed the names or owners of the selected projects. However, Lightsource BPClenergy (Xiamen) Technology Co. and Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) have all announced that they have signed PPAs with the company.

Snowy Hydro has agreed to purchase 105 MWp from an unnamed ground-mounted solar installation in New South Wales, fully funded, constructed and maintained by Lightsource BP. It will also purchase 67.8 MWAC produced by the Goonumbla Solar Farm, currently being developed by FRV in New South Wales. The developer intends to begin construction in April 2019 and start operations in June 2020.

Clenergy's PPA covers the 115 MWAC (143.5 MWDC) Metz Solar Farm, located in New England, New South Wales. The project received Planning Approval in July 2017, and secured grid connection in July 2018. Clenergy is in the final stages of awarding EPC and O&M contracts, and plans for construction to commence in early 2019, with commercial operation occurring in Q1 2020.

Last week, Tilt Renewables announced that it has executed a 15-year offtake contract with an investment grade counterparty for 50% of the capacity of the Dundonnell Wind Farm, located in the Western District of Victoria, thus is suspected to be another recipient of Snowy Hydro's PPAs.

Other reported winners are CWP Renewables and Total Eren, though neither company has disclosed any information about the projects concerned.

Snowy Hydro launched its Renewable Energy Procurement Program in May this year. Projects with a total over 17,600 MW generation capacity were submitted, greatly exceeding the sought-after 400 MW of wind and 400 MW of solar power. The power purchaser has disclosed that all eight winning projects are expected to come online within the next two years.

Snowy Hydro launched the program to address its energy shortages - its existing assets do not generate enough energy to cover all of its customers, necessitating the purchase of energy from the wholesale market.

The new renewable energy generation will be ‘firmed’ by Snowy Hydro’s hydro, gas and diesel power stations, meaning that these facilities will work in combination with wind and solar projects to transform intermittent energy into ‘firm’ reliable energy available on-demand to customers.

The PPAs enable Snowy Hydro to offer competitive, firm wholesale prices (ie. the cost of the raw renewable energy plus the cost of ‘firming’) - for below AUD70 (US$50.4) per MWh for a flat load, for up to 15 years.

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