The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has committed $100 million of funding to the 300MW Walla Walla Solar Farm near Albury, NSW.
The latest investment takes the CEFC’s lifetime commitments in renewable energy projects to $3.03 billion, representing 5.1 GW of solar and wind energy generation capacity.
Walla Walla is the largest solar farm to be project financed by the CEFC and its third investment in large scale clean energy generation in two months, in a significant boost to the sector as it faces strong economic headwinds.
Together with CEFC investment commitments of $175 million in the Golden Plains Wind Farm and $75 million in the Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN) clean energy portfolio, the Walla Walla Solar Farm transaction marks an important contribution to the decarbonisation of the electricity sector as Australia pursues 82 per cent renewable energy generation by 2030.
CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said, “In a year when the CEFC also marked 10 years of operation and surpassed $10 billion investment commitments, these clean energy milestones highlight the contribution that every CEFC dollar is making to spearhead Australia’s push to net zero emissions.
“The large-scale renewable energy projects that CEFC finance is helping deliver enable Australia to capitalise on its abundant natural resources to decarbonise the grid, replace retiring coal generation and generate the clean, green energy that will power Australian homes and businesses in the 21st century.
“If Australia is to meet its new emissions reduction goals and renewable energy targets we must urgently step up our development of large scale wind and solar. The CEFC has been a critical part of the sector for the past 10 years and will continue to support it in the next crucial decade.”
The CEFC is working with Future Renewable Vision (FRV) Australia, one of the largest solar developers, asset owners and renewable energy platforms in Australia and one of the first solar developers to enter the Australian market. The company, owned by Abdul Latif Jameel Energy and OMERS, has developed and built almost 800MWdc of Australian Photovoltaics (PV) assets across nine projects. FRV Australia has selected Gransolar to carry out the construction of the project in a joint venture with CHINT Solar.
FRV Australia has signed a 15-year power purchase agreement with Microsoft to provide renewable energy from Walla Walla Solar Farm to its data centres in Australia, supporting the Microsoft goal of achieving 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025.
FRV Australia CEO Carlo Frigerio said, “We are delighted to be working again with CEFC in supporting Australia’s energy transition. The CEFC debt facility is key to deliver our largest solar farm in the country despite the procurement challenges which affected our industry during the past year (2022).”
The CEFC previously worked with FRV Australia on its first large scale solar investment, the ground-breaking Moree Solar Farm, in 2013. FRV Australia has evolved from being just a developer to becoming an independent power producer, continuing to lead the global transition to a more sustainable energy future.
CEFC Head of Solar and Battery Storage Niall Brady said, “Almost 10 years ago the CEFC worked with FRV Australia to deliver Moree Solar Farm in the early stages of Australia’s fledgling clean energy sector, and we are pleased to again join forces with them as it faces new economic headwinds.
“With global pressure on supply chains forcing construction costs up, and the effect of covid lockdowns on manufacturing further increasing prices, CEFC capital remains available to ensure that these short-term challenges do not derail the achievements of the past decade.”