Goonumbla Solar Farm construction complete and powering 45,000 homes

OPERATING: Construction of the 69.75 MW AC Goonumbla Solar Farm, 10 Kilometres west of Parkes, is complete and will produce about 195,000 MWh of clean energy per year. Photo: Submitted
OPERATING: Construction of the 69.75 MW AC Goonumbla Solar Farm, 10 Kilometres west of Parkes, is complete and will produce about 195,000 MWh of clean energy per year. Photo: Submitted

Construction of the 69.75 MW ac Goonumbla Solar Farm located 10 kilometres west of Parkes is now complete.

Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), part of Abdul Latif Jameel Energy and a leading global developer of renewable utility-scale projects, made the exciting announcement last week.

With the plant now connected to the national grid, it will produce about 195,000 MWh of clean energy per year, enough to supply more than 45,000 Australian homes and avoid the emission of 140,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Its construction created 250 jobs in the area, seven of which are remaining now that the plant is operational.

FRV signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for the project with Snowy Hydro in late 2018, after being awarded in Snowy' s Renewable Energy Procurement Program.

FRV secured financing for the project a year ago, the debt provided by ING and DZ Bank with ING taking the majority stake in the financing package.

The solar farm was assessed as a 'state significant development' and consent was granted by the Minister for Planning on December 5, 2016.

In March 2019 engineering works began, with 94.5 per cent of it complete by August last year and construction underway.

"We are glad to successfully deliver this project which is our first PPA with Snowy Hydro," Managing Director of FRV in Australia, Carlo Frigerio said during last week's announcement.

"It proves that a consolidated player like FRV is capable to deliver top quality solar farms notwithstanding the increased challenges in the Australian renewable energy market and generally in a moment of global turmoil."

Snowy Hydro's CEO Paul Broad is delighted with the news that FRV has completed construction of its Goonumbla power station and will begin supplying renewable power.

"As part of the ongoing commitment of Snowy Hydro to supporting the growth of renewables in Australia, we have contracted over 1000MW of clean, green energy projects - Goonumbla being one of those transactions," he said.

Goonumbla Solar Farm falls within the boundary of the Parkes Special Activation Precinct - a 4800 hectare purposely-zoned area to create jobs, attract businesses and investors, and fuel economic development in Regional NSW.

The NSW Government received 34 submissions prior to the release of the precinct's final master plan on June 12, one of which came from FRV on behalf of Goonumbla Solar Farm.

The submission objected plans for a new northern link road, connecting Brolgan Road to the Henry Parkes Way, through the project site.

FRV said in its submission the road proposal was not raised by any of the multiple government agencies and the "exhibition documents [failed] to appreciate the advanced stage of the project".

It was also going to have a significant cost impact on the solar farm.

But since the release of the revised master plan, the northern link road has been removed and a new road mapped around the solar sub-precinct, marked for investigation.

REVISED: The draft master plan of the Parkes Special Activation Precinct (left) exhibited in October last year, shows the proposed northern link road going through the (yellow) solar sub-precinct. This was removed in the final master plan (right) released in June.

REVISED: The draft master plan of the Parkes Special Activation Precinct (left) exhibited in October last year, shows the proposed northern link road going through the (yellow) solar sub-precinct. This was removed in the final master plan (right) released in June.

Goonumbla Solar Farm is the second project of FRV in NSW, following the Moree Solar Farm (56 MW ac) which has been operating since March 2016.

FRV has developed and secured PPAs for a total of seven solar projects in Australia.

Deputy President and Vice Chairman of Abdul Latif Jameel, Fady Jameel, said theyare proud to be part of and witness Australia's transition to sustainable energy.

"The completion of the Goonumbla Solar Farm shows the fantastic progress we are making in this vital sector," he said.

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