• Abdul Latif Jameel Energy announces 5th large scale solar project in Victoria, Australia
  • 85 MWac project will power 50,00 homes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 150,000 tons of CO2 per year
  • Plant near Benalla, Victoria, supports achievement of state government’s renewable energy targets

Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), a leading global developer of renewable utility-scale projects and part of Abdul Latif Jameel Energy, has, through its subsidiary Winton Asset trust been awarded support by the Victorian State Government for an 85 MWac solar project in in the Victorian Renewable Energy 2017 Reverse Auction Scheme aimed at supporting the achievement of the Victorian Renewable Energy Targets (VRET), it was announced today.

With a surface of approximately 250 hectares, the 85 MWac Winton Solar Farm located near Benalla in the state of Victoria, has been awarded a ‘Support Agreement’ from the State to ensure revenue certainty for the project.  Thanks to this agreement, the Winton Solar Farm will be able to commence construction in Q1 2019 and, once operational will supply enough electricity to power about 50,000 homes and afford an annual reduction of 150,000 tons of CO2.

The solar farm will create job opportunities during both construction and operation phases including an estimated 150 workers required to build the plant and the development of a local employment and procurement program following the Local Investment Development Plan.  Enrolment to the GO TAFE Traineeship Program will help ensure that the highest number of suitably-qualified local candidates are available for ongoing positions at the Winton Solar Farm.  The project represents a positive diversification of the local economy through both helping attract investment to the area and also provide additional indirect economic opportunities for local businesses.

In line with Victorian State Government’s goal to strengthen community support of renewable energy projects, FRV’s Community Engagement and Social Benefit Sharing Plan aims to meet the needs of the local community and includes a two-year pilot partnership with the Regent Honeyeater Project, one of the most active volunteer conservation projects in Australia.  FRV is also exploring support of the Benalla Sustainable Futures Group, helping to deliver key aspects of their three-point plan to position Benalla as one of the first ‘zero net energy’ towns.

The Local Investment Plan commitments include a contribution to the University of Melbourne’s Renewable Energy Research Investment Partnership that looks at the future design of domestic electricity distribution networks and its potential impact on local communities and community renewable energy projects.

Carlo Frigerio, Managing Director, FRV Australia, highlighted Winton Solar Farm as the fifth FRV’s large-scale solar project to be delivered in Australia and the first in the State of Victoria.  Winton Solar Farm – along with FRV’s other large-scale solar developments installed or under construction, will generate around 365 MWac of clean energy capacity bringing the total value of FRV’s solar investments in the Australian renewable energy sector to around A$ 850 million.

He commented: “FRV is delighted to contribute to Victoria’s renewable energy targets.  We are working to ensure that at least 25 per cent of the State’s electricity generation comes from renewable energy sources by 2020, rising to 40 per cent of the generation by 2025. This project reflects FRV’s strong commitment to delivering a sustainable future for Australia.”

Noting this key milestone Daniel Sagi-Vela, CEO of FRV confirmed FRV’s plans to “continue leading the diversification of energy production in Australia” and that “the Victorian renewable energy policy is key to the emergence of a stronger, more resilient solar generation market in Australia. I am confident that the costs associated with solar energy generation will continue being competitive with other forms of energy”.

Roberto de Diego Arozamena, Chief Executive Officer of Abdul Latif Jameel Energy said “with this, our fifth major project in Australia, Abdul Latif Jameel Energy is proud to continue to be a part of the development of a sustainable energy and economic future of Australia.”

FRV has had a presence in Australia since 2010, and is actively pursuing the expansion by further developing its solar energy pipeline in the country of currently over 1 GW ac (1.25 GW dc).

The Winton Solar Farm project is FRV’s fifth large scale photovoltaic project in Australia.  Previous projects include Royalla (20 MWac) in the Australian Capital Territory; Moree (56 MWac) in New South Wales and Clare (100 MWac) in Queensland.  In addition, FRV is about to finish the construction of the Lilyvale solar plant (100 MWac) in Queensland.