Telstra says the agreement with the Australian arm of the UK renewable energy giant will give it secure long-term supply and price security from a new high-quality renewable energy source.
In return, the deal will provide RES with the security of the offtake for the new plant that will produce enough energy to power 35,000 homes.
The new 70 megawatt (MW) solar farm is to be developed near Emerald in northern Queensland.
“We are proud to be taking an active role in Australia’s transition to a lower emissions economy, complementing our long-standing energy efficiency and sustainability programs that saw our emissions intensity per unit of data fall by 56% over three years.”
According to Matt Rebbeck, RES Australia’s chief operating officer, Telstra’s involvement was critical in underwriting the project, worth approximately $100 million, as an important addition to Australia’s supply of renewable energy and extending RES’s portfolio of solar, wind and battery storage renewable energy assets.
“It is great to have been able to apply our global experience in long-term power purchase agreements to tailor the deal around Telstra’s requirements and enable new renewable generation to be brought online. This 160ha new solar plant will be one of the largest renewable energy sources in northern Australia and will create jobs and economic opportunities in regional Queensland.”
Under the deal construction of the solar project will begin in the second half of this year and is expected to start generating electricity in 2018.
The project will see collaboration by Telstra and RES with local businesses and indigenous communities to create the opportunity for local supply arrangements to support the construction and operation of the plant.
“The Emerald project is part of Telstra becoming a more active participant in the energy market to reduce costs while at the same time building resilience in our network and contributing to a more stable energy system,” Burge said.
“For example, we are looking at opportunities to utilise the back-up electricity generation and battery storage capacity we have in our network to proactively generate energy in times of peak demand to help reduce black out risks and offset high wholesale prices.”