BlueScope Steel secures PPA for Finley Solar Farm

Friday, 20 July, 2018

BlueScope Steel secures PPA for Finley Solar Farm

BlueScope Steel has signed one of Australia’s largest corporate renewable energy power purchase agreements (PPA) with ESCO Pacific, the owner of the Finley Solar Farm project.

The seven-year PPA will see BlueScope offtake 66% of the 133 MW of energy generated from Finley Solar Farm, set to be located in the Riverina region of NSW, making the landmark agreement the largest corporate PPA announced with a solar farm in Australia. The agreement also fixes the power price over the life of the contract, reducing the price for power in the immediate term and providing a long-term buffer against market volatility.

“This PPA is one of Australia’s largest corporate offtake agreements and is the largest with a solar farm to date, and complements our firm electricity supply arrangements, which provide the reliable electricity supply we need for manufacturing processes that must operate 24/7,” said BlueScope’s Chief Executive, Australian Steel Products, John Nowlan. “The PPA will help keep downward pressure on our energy costs and will support the gradual transition to renewable energy. The volume under the agreement is equivalent to 20% of BlueScope’s total Australian electricity purchases.”

Schneider Electric partnered with BlueScope Steel to help identify and contract for the solar project through its recently launched cleantech advisory service, Schneider Electric Energy & Sustainability Services (ESS). As an independent, third-party advisor, the company works with a large global pipeline of developers and projects and provides unbiased recommendations to organisations looking to realise the economic and environmental benefits offered by PPAs.

With the assistance of Schneider Electric, BlueScope Steel ran a competitive tendering process for the long-term offtake contract. Finley Solar Farm was selected on the basis of ESCO Pacific’s demonstrated experience in successfully delivering large-scale solar farms to market, as well as the energy price the company was able to offer under the PPA. As a result of the solar energy’s low levelised cost of energy (LCOE), BlueScope will realise significant reductions in its net energy costs by contracting directly with Finley Solar Farm.

ESCO Pacific strategically identified the site at Finley as an ideal location for a solar farm due to its high solar resource and direct connection to the existing Transgrid-owned Finley substation. These factors were critical in helping to deliver to BlueScope a cost-effective solar corporate PPA.

The PPA will enable Finley Solar Farm to begin construction later this year, employing 130 people during construction phase, and to start generating electricity in mid-2019. Once completed, the solar farm will generate enough electricity to power 60,000 homes while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 300,000 tonnes — equivalent to taking 90,000 cars off the road.

“As the world’s largest renewable energy and cleantech consultant, Schneider Electric has long been committed to helping businesses benefit from adopting low-cost renewable energy sources through PPAs and other projects,” said Gareth O’Reilly, Managing Director – Schneider Electric in the Pacific.

“Today, we are proud to have enabled BlueScope Steel to join a growing cadre of local and global companies committed to sourcing renewable energy for economic and environmental benefit.”

Image credit: ©

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