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Oil and gas giant ENI to build Australia’s largest solar farm

07 Feb 2019 9:54 AM | Sonia Harvey (Administrator)

ITALIAN multinational oil and gas company ENI has entered the Australian Renewable Energy market with the purchase of Australia’s largest construction ready solar farm project near Katherine.

ENI said construction work on the solar farm was expected to start in the next few weeks, with an expected commercial operation date in the final quarter of this year.

The $40 million project will have about 75 ha of solar panels about 5km northwest from Katherine and create more than 100 jobs during construction. The project has already sealed a solar offtake deal with the NT Government owned utility Jacana Energy.

A power purchase agreement (PPA) was signed last year between Jacana Energy and Katherine Solar as part of a series of electricity market reforms to deliver lower cost and reliable power.

Considered one of the global supermajors, ENI has operations in 79 countries, and provides domestic gas to the Territory from its Blacktip gas field in the Bonaparte offshore basin off the northwestern coast of Australia.

It has a non-operated interest in the Bayu-Undan gas and condensate field and in the associated Darwin LNG plant. It is world’s 11th largest industrial company.

In a statement issued from Milan yesterday the company said the acquisition of the project from Katherine Solar Pty Ltd a joint venture between Australia’s Epuron and the UK-based Island Green Power will compliment the company’s existing assets in the region’s oil and gas sector.

“Once completed, the project will be the largest photovoltaic (PV) farm in the Northern Territory, consisting of the installation of 33.7 MWp (Mega Watt peak) PV panels, as well as a battery storage system with a capacity of 5.7 MVA/2.9MWh (Mega Volt Ampere and Mega Watt hour),” ENI said.

ENI said Epuron will have an active role in managing the solar farm once it is operational. Epuron already owns and operates solar power stations in the NT at Alice Springs, Yulara, Kalkarindji, Ti Tree and Lake Nash/Alpurrurulam.

“This project will contribute to the Northern Territory’s government goal to procure 50 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030. Once operational, the PV farm will avoid around 63.000 tonnes/year of CO2 equivalent emissions,” ENI said.

Power from thousands of photovoltaic panels would feed into an upgraded substation in Katherine.

This will then flow through the Darwin network supplying 25 megawatts of green power.

Source: NT News

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