BlueScope Steel has signed a seven-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to offtake 66% of the 133MW generated from ESCO Pacific’s Finley Solar Farm.
The 500,000 solar panel facility is expected to come online by mid next year. It is located on a 300ha site at Finley, which is 100km west of Albury in the Riverina of New South Wales, Australia.
BlueScope Australian Steel Products chief executive John Nowlan said: “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.
“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.”
BlueScope stated that it supports Australia’s 2030 emissions target, including the target to cut down electricity sector emissions by 26% on 2005 levels by 2030.
With this investment, BlueScope expects to speed up the decarbonisation of the electricity grid by reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 300,000t of CO2, which is equivalent to taking 90,000 cars off the road and is enough to power 60,000 households.
The solar farm is expected to generate 130 jobs during the construction phase, and eight permanent jobs once it is fully commissioned.
Investment in the project has been estimated to cross $250m.