A JOINT venture of Ayala-led AC Energy, Inc. in Australia is set to build a 720-megawatt (MW) renewable facility after securing a connection deal with the New South Wales’ (NSW) transmission network TransGrid.
In a statement on Thursday, AC Energy said the solar farm project by UPC\AC Renewables Australia will connect to TransGrid’s 330-kilovolt (kV) transmission line from Tamworth to Armidale in NSW. It is seen to bring clean electricity to around 250,000 households each year.
The latest agreement is “one of the last pieces of the development puzzle,” said Anton Rohner, chief executive officer of UPC\AC Renewables Australia.
“We will now look to commence construction activities shortly,” the official added.
Patrice Clausse, chief operating officer of AC Energy International, sees the project to place the joint venture at “the forefront of harnessing Australia’s strong potential in renewable energy and its world-class solar resources.”
The joint venture will also be installing a large-scale lithium-ion battery storage facility that will assist in maintaining the grid’s stability and will provide “firm” capability to deliver energy at peak periods, “lowering prices for consumers.”
A community fund was set up, starting with $100,000 in the first year of construction and increasing to $180,000 each year when the project is fully commissioned.
Construction works will run for three years, the company said. The solar farm will be going online in stages.
UPC\AC Renewables Australia is currently building other renewables projects, namely: a twin project in northwest Tasmania with 1,000 and 1,200 MW each; a 160-MW solar farm in Victoria; and a 250-MW hydro plant and a 300-MW solar farm, both in South Australia.
The joint venture holds a 25% stake in UAC Energy Holdings, a company which recently lodged a A$777-million takeover offer to acquire Infigen Energy Ltd. AC Energy owns the bulk of the interest, or the remaining 75%, in UAC Energy.
Infigen’s board has rejected the A$0.80 per security bid of UAC Energy, despite securing the approval of the Foreign Investment Review Board, which is one among the conditions of the offer.
It instead preferred the A$0.86 per security offer of Spanish multinational power utility Iberdrola, S.A. which is 7.5% higher. — Adam J. Ang