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BlueScope signs largest-ever solar power-purchasing agreement

BlueScope and its partners ESCO Pacific and Schneider Electric have announced a landmark 7-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), where BlueScope will offtake 66% of the 133 MW of energy generated from ESCO Pacific’s Finley Solar Farm.

The 500,000 solar panel farm to be located at Finley, 100 km West of Albury in the Riverina of NSW, is expected to be online by mid-2019. The ground-mounted solar farm will be located on a 300 Hectare (Ha) site which is almost half the size of BlueScope’s Port Kembla Steelworks.

The Solar Farm will provide 130 jobs during the construction phase and create 8 permanent jobs (2 full-time and 6 part-time) once fully operational. Investment in the project is expected to exceed $250m.

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John Nowlan, Chief Executive, BlueScope, said, “BlueScope’s approach to energy has always been about balancing the ‘Trilemma’, whereby we have access to affordable and reliable energy whilst reducing emissions where we can – which is why we support the intent of the National Energy Guarantee (NEG).

Mr. Nowlan further added, “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.”

Hon. Don Harwin, NSW Energy Minister who attended the signing ceremony said, “Delivering affordable and reliable energy for households and businesses is a priority for the NSW Government. NSW takes a technology neutral approach to energy and we want to see a diverse range of generation sources to ensure the reliability and affordability NSW needs for the future.”

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