AGL to proceed with $450m solar plants in NSW


AGL to proceed with $450m solar plants in NSW

July 31, 2013 – 9:13AM

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Peter Hannam
Peter Hannam
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A lot more of this coming to the bush.

Australia will get its largest solar ventures with AGL Energy today announcing it will proceed with two projects in NSW costing a total of $450 million.

The large-scale solar photovoltaic projects will go ahead after the energy company secured funding deals with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the NSW government, AGL said in a statement to the stock exchange.

The AGL solar projects will include a 102-megawatt solar plant at Nyngan, north-west of Dubbo, and a 53-megawatt solar plant at Broken Hill in the state’s west.

ARENA will provide a grant of $166.7 million and the NSW government will chip in funds totalling $64.9 million, AGL said.

US-based First Solar will provide engineering and construction services for both projects, using advanced thin-film PV modules.

“Solar PV in Australia has come a long way from being a small-scale industry in a relatively short time frame,” said Michael Fraser, AGL’s managing director.

“The Nyngan and Broken Hill solar plants will be the nation’s largest solar projects, with the Nyngan plant also being the largest in the Southern Hemisphere.”

The projects will produce about 360,000 megawatt-hours of electricity annually, which will be sufficient to meet the needs of more than 50,000 average NSW homes, the company said.

Construction of the Nyngan project is expected to start in January 2014, with completion scheduled by mid 2015. The Broken Hill plant will start construction in July 2014, and is scheduled to be completed by about November 2015.

Federal climate change minister Mark Butler and NSW’s energy minister Chris Hartcher will attend a media event in Sydney this morning to provide additional information on the projects.

According to AGL, the two projects will create 450 construction jobs, a third of them in Broken Hill and the remainder at Nyngan. The boost to the regional economies will be in the order of 2 per cent, AGL’s Mr Fraser said.

Future solar ventures may get also get a boost from the projects, with University of Queensland and the University of NSW collaborating with AGL and First Solar, AGL said.

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