The energy firm has already agreed on binding terms to purchase power generated from the proposed 42.6MW solar farm at Manildra in regional New South Wales.

Being developed by US-based First Solar, the project is funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

Construction work on the project is scheduled to commence early next year and will be completed in 2018.

A final, 13-year power purchase agreement (PPA) is planned to be signed by EnergyAustralia with First Solar by the end of this year.

EnergyAustralia managing director Catherine Tanna said that the firm owns two coal-fired power stations in the country.

Tanna noted: “But our operations also generate more than 20 million tons of CO2 a year at a time when the community rightly expects us to play our part in lowering carbon emissions.

“Owning big power plants comes with the responsibility of promoting and leading the development of cleaner forms of energy.

“That’s why we’re committing to buy 500MW of power from new solar and wind projects around the country, providing the support they need to get built.”

EnergyAustralia said it is also negotiating to purchase power from other solar and wind projects across eastern Australia.

Tanna added: “These are the projects which will come to underpin energy supply in Australia as coal-fired power plants are retired, so customers continue to enjoy reliable, affordable energy.”

EnergyAustralia’s program is expected to contribute to the Australian government’s Renewable Energy Target, which aims to generate 23% of total power from renewable sources by 2020.

Image: EnergyAustralia seeks to purchase wind and solar power in Australia. Photo: courtesy of Anusorn P nachol/