Bluescope Steel just signed the largest solar power purchasing deal in Australia

A workman cleans panels at a solar farm. (Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images)

  • Bluescope Steel has a signed a seven-year deal which will see around 20% of its electricity requirements provided by solar energy.
  • It’s the largest energy deal involving solar in Australia.
  • The solar farm will be constructed in regional New South Wales, and is forecast to be completed by mid-2019.

Bluescope Steel has signed a seven-year deal to draw power from a 500-panel solar farm, which will be constructed in regional New South Wales.

The $250 million project is forecast to be completed by the middle of 2019, and will generate around 133 megawatts (MW) of electricity.

As part of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), Bluescope will offtake 66% of that amount, which it says is equivalent to 20% of its total electricity purchases.

The announcement of the purchase agreement was made today in conjunction with ESCO Pacific and Schneider Electric, Bluescope’s partners in the project.

Bluescope’s chief executive of steel products, John Nowlan, said the deal is largest energy offtake agreement for a solar farm in Australia.

“The PPA will help keep downward pressure on our energy costs, and will support the gradual transition to renewable energy,” Nowlan said.

“BlueScope supports Australia’s 2030 emissions target, including the government’s target to reduce electricity sector emissions by 26% on 2005 levels by 2030.”

Nowlan said the completed solar farm would reduce emissions from electricity generation by around 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year — equivalent to the power used by 60,000 homes.

ESCO Pacific will construct the solar farm, following a period of consultation with Bluescope and Schneider Electric.

The solar farm will be based in Finley, in the Riverina region of New South Wales.

“ESCO Pacific strategically identified the site at Finley as an ideal location for a solar farm due to its high solar resource and direct connection to the existing TransGrid-owned Finley substation,” said ESCO managing director Steve Rademaker.

“These factors were critical in helping deliver to BlueScope a cost effective solar corporate PPA.”

ESCO will commence building the solar farm later this year. 130 jobs will be created in the construction phase, with eight permanent positions once the farm is operational.

A short time ago, shares in Bluescope were up 1.2% to $18.73.

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