CEFC announces $51 million equity investment in Kiamal Solar Farm

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) has announced its third equity investment in a large-scale renewable energy development, with a $51 million stake in Victoria’s 200MW (AC) Kiamal Solar Farm. The investment extends the CEFC’s push into equity following earlier investments in Queensland’s Ross River Solar Farm and Tasmania’s Granville Harbour Wind Farm.

The Kiamal Solar Farm, near Ouyen in north-west Victoria, is the first Australian project to be delivered by international developer Total Eren, further diversifying the investment profile of Australia’s solar sector.
Total Eren will include a 190MVAr synchronous condenser as part of the Kiamal generating system, facilitating a timely connection to the Victorian Transmission System, as well as strengthening the grid in the north western Victoria area for the longer term.

Total Eren is also working with TransGrid to deliver a new 220 kV Kiamal Terminal Station and Collector Substation, with the two 180MVA transformers designed and manufactured locally by Wilsons Transformers in Victoria.

CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said this project will contribute to a stronger and more reliable grid that is able to accommodate an increasing share of low emissions solar energy in the future.

“While Australia’s world leading potential in solar energy in well known, the reality is that we require considerable new investment to take advantage of this low cost and low emissions energy resource,” Learmonth said.

“The CEFC continues to play a central role in working alongside exciting new investors such as Total Eren as a way of increasing the flow of capital into our clean energy transition. We’re also seeing new opportunities for the CEFC to invest in projects as an equity partner, allowing us to diversify our own investment portfolio for the longer term.”

Kiamal has secured a corporate power purchase agreement (PAA) with Mars Australia, as well as PPAs with energy retailers Alinta Energy and Flow Power. It also will supply energy to Zero Emissions Water, a new entity representing 13 Victorian water corporations, and deliver large-scale generation certificates for retailer Origin Energy.

“The CEFC is pleased to support the innovative approach to offtake contracting reflected in the Kiamal project. The use of multiple power purchase agreements demonstrates the potential for a diverse group of customers to hedge their energy costs while supporting the development of new large-scale renewable energy projects,” said Learmonth.

“We are confident this is a model that can be embraced by more manufacturers, commercial enterprises and government agencies as they explore ways to further control energy costs as well as lower their emissions.”

The Kiamal development is expected to reach commercial operation later in 2019. Victoria’s largest solar farm, it will include more than 718,000 PV panels with single-axis trackers covering some 500 hectares of land. It is expected to produce enough electricity to meet the needs of more than 133,500 homes and displace more than 610,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

Total Eren is seeking to expand the Kiamal Solar Farm with a second stage of up to 213.5 MWp of solar PV panels, as well as exploring commercial options for the approved 270MW / 1,080 MWh energy storage system.