AGL Energy Limited (AGL) confirms that construction of Australia’s largest utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants, in Nyngan and Broken Hill in western New South Wales, are progressing on schedule.
The Nyngan (102 MW) and Broken Hill (53 MW) solar plants will have a total capacity of 155 MW, bolstering AGL’s existing credentials as the largest ASX-listed owner, operator and developer of renewable energy generation in Australia. In the last decade AGL has invested more than $3 billion in renewable energy projects.
Group General Manager Merchant Energy, Anthony Fowler, said both solar plants are progressing as planned with first generation expected from the Nyngan Solar Plant within the next two months.
"First generation will come from 25 percent of the 1.35 million modules currently installed. We expect first generation to take place in the next month or two and all going well, the Nyngan Solar Plant will be fully operational by July 2015.
"The Nyngan Solar Plant site covers approximately 250 hectares and 40 percent of the solar PV modules have been installed so far. The project’s main transformer, which increases the voltage from 33kV to 132kV for transmission into the national energy grid, has also been energised in preparation for electricity generation," said Mr Fowler.
The two solar plants are expected to produce approximately 360,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually. This will be sufficient to meet the needs of over 50,000 average NSW homes.
Total capital expenditure for the two projects is approximately $440 million, with $166.7 million being provided by the Federal Government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and $64.9 million from the NSW Government.
The Nyngan project has provided economic benefits for the regional community including employment, which during the peak of construction reached over 250 people onsite.
At the 140 hectare Broken Hill plant 25 percent of the posts and 15 percent of the tilts which will hold the 650,000 solar PV modules have been installed.
"Up to 150 jobs will be created during the construction phase at Broken Hill. The plant, which started construction in October 2014, is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2015," said Mr Fowler.
AGL will deliver the solar plants in partnership with ARENA, the NSW Government, the local councils and communities, and project partner First Solar.
AGL is one of Australia's leading integrated energy companies and largest ASX-listed owner, operator and developer of renewable energy generation in the country. Drawing on over 175 years of experience, AGL operates retail and merchant energy businesses, power generation assets and an upstream gas portfolio. AGL has one of Australia's largest retail energy and dual fuel customer bases. AGL has a diverse power generation portfolio including base, peaking and intermediate generation plants, spread across traditional thermal generation as well as renewable sources including hydro, wind, landfill gas and biomass. AGL is taking action toward creating a sustainable energy future for our investors, communities and customers
About the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)
ARENA was established by the Australian Government as an independent agency on 1 July 2012 to make renewable energy technologies more affordable and increase the amount of renewable energy used in Australia. ARENA invests in renewable energy projects, supports research and development activities, boosts job creation and industry development, and increases knowledge about renewable energy.
About NSW Government support for renewable energy
The NSW Government supports the development and uptake of the renewable energy in the state. The NSW Renewable Energy Action Plan will be the main driver for increasing the uptake of renewable energy in the state. The plan’s three goals and 24 actions will guide NSW’s renewable energy development and support the national target of achieving 20% electricity from renewable sources by 2020 at least cost to the energy customer and with maximum benefits to NSW.
The NSW Regional Clean Energy Program (RCEP) and the Renewable Energy Advocate will work closely with NSW communities and the renewable energy industry to facilitate the development of renewable energy projects, increase renewable energy generation in NSW and help remove barriers and promote investment in renewable energy.
About First Solar, Inc.
First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems which use its advanced module and system technology. The company’s integrated power plant solutions deliver an economically attractive alternative to fossil-fuel electricity generation today. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life module recycling, First Solar’s renewable energy systems protect and enhance the environment. For more information about First Solar, please visit www.firstsolar.com