ESCO Pacific has signed a seven-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with BlueScope Steel to supply 66% of the electricity generated from 175MW Finley solar farm in Australia.
BlueScope with support from Schneider Electric, conducted a competitive tendering process for a long term offtake contract. ESCO’s Finley solar farm was selected on the basis of the company’s experience in delivering large scale solar farms.
Due to solar energy’s low levelized cost of electricity (LCOE), BlueScope is expected to realise significant reductions in its net energy costs by contracting directly with ESCO Pacific’s Finley solar farm.
BlueScope’s Australian Steel Products CEO John Nowlon said: “This PPA is one of Australia’s largest corporate offtake agreements, and is the largest with a solar farm to date, and complements BlueScope’s 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.”
With the PPA in hand, ESCO Pacific will begin the construction of the solar farm later this year. During the construction phase, nearly 130 jobs will be created and the solar farm is expected to begin its operations by the middle of next year.
Once operational, the solar farm will generate enough clean energy which can supplied to 60,000 homes, while avoiding 300,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, had the energy been generated using conventional fuel-powered plants.
ESCO Pacific managing director Steven Rademaker said: “ESCO Pacific is delighted to be partnering with BlueScope, an iconic Australian company that has identified the substantial energy cost savings that a solar corporate PPA can deliver to its business.”
“As a leading Australian solar developer, ESCO Pacific is seeing significant inbound interest from a diverse range of corporates looking to secure low cost electricity. With a substantial pipeline of projects at an advanced stage of development in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, we looked forward to bringing more of our solar projects to market.”