Iberdrola Australia is to build the Avonlie solar farm, a 245 megawatt (MW) plant that will be located near the town of Narrandera in New South Wales. The project will generate around 500 gigawatt hours (GW) of electricity per year, which is equivalent to powering more than 80,000 Australian homes and avoiding more than 157,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.
Construction work will include the installation of more than 450,000 solar panels and the necessary equipment. Construction is scheduled to start early in the fourth quarter of 2021, with commissioning by the end of 2022. The project will create more than 230 full-time jobs during construction and a large number of direct and indirect jobs during its estimated 35-year operating life.
“At Iberdrola Australia our strategy is to put customers at the heart of the energy transition. We are experiencing rapid growth in the number of residential and industrial customers who have long been opting for clean energy targets and 100% renewable electricity contracts,” says Ross Rolfe, CEO of Iberdrola Australia. “We invest not only in low-cost renewables – such as this Avonlie solar farm – but also through the efficient and flexible use of production capacity, ensuring the electricity system remains reliable as renewable penetration increases. This optimised portfolio makes it possible for us to offer our growing customer base long-term electricity contracts for reliable, affordable and clean supply,” explains Rolfe.
As Australia’s obsolete and unreliable coal-fired power stations approach retirement, the national energy market will need significant investment to replace them. Iberdrola Australia’s commitment to the construction of the Avonlie solar farm is a further demonstration of the company’s aim to meet the long-term needs of the market.
In the past two years, Iberdrola has secured investment approval for the Avonlie solar farm in New South Wales and the 320 MW Port Augusta renewable energy farm, and has signed an agreement with TransGrid for the use of the 50 MW/75 MWh Walgrove electric battery, also in New South Wales. Together, these projects represent an investment of nearly USD 725 million (A$1 billion) and will bring nearly 600 MW of sustainable and efficient renewable energy to the Australian electricity market.