Solar wine and Cheezels? NSW solar farm to power Australian Vintage, Snack Brands

A New South Wales solar farm will supply PV generation to two major Australian food and beverage businesses, through a power purchase agreement with corporate energy retailer Flow Power.

The deal – which has been somewhat eclipsed by the rather sensational acquisition of the Bomen Solar Farm by major network owner Spark Infrastructure – will see Flow Power contract 69MW of the output of the 120MW PV project, which is being developed northeast of Wagga Wagga.

In a statement on Wednesday, Flow said it would use that off take agreement to fulfill hybrid renewable power purchase agreements it had previously struck with both wine producer Australian Vintage and snack food company Snack Brands.

As we reported here, for the ASX-listed Australian Vintage – which owns leading export brands including McGuigan Wines and Tempus Two – the 10-year PPA with Flow will take the company’s Buronga Hill facility in NSW to 90 per cent renewable, combined with solar generated on-site by a 1.65MW ground and roof-mounted system.

Snack Brands – one of the largest suppliers of snack foods in Australia, including the iconic Aussie nibble, Cheezels – also entered into a corporate renewable PPA with Flow last month, and is the first business to sign up to a five-year deal with the retailer.

For Flow Power, the Bomen Solar Farm offtake marks the company’s first solar offering in New South Wales, and broadens the reach of its core business.

Since launching in September of 2017 off the back of a deal with the Ararat wind farm in Victoria, Flow Power has signed offtake agreements with the Kiamal solar farm also in Victoria, and with the 270MW Sapphire Wind Farm in NSW.

And in Queensland, last August, the retailer contracted to take 50MW of the proposed 104MW Lakeland wind farm that Windlab is aiming to build about 60km south-west of Cooktown on the Cape York Peninsula in the state’s north.

The company said the offtake agreement for Bomen was testament to the growing appetite for PPAs in the Australian market, and Flow Power’s continued success in playing matchmaker between businesses and renewable energy developers.

“This year, our renewable portfolio has grown exponentially,” said Flow’s managing director, Matthew van der Linden.

“We believe that supporting Australia’s pipeline of renewable projects is the key to shaping a better energy future. These agreements are a crucial piece of the puzzle, and will bring us closer to realising this future.”

Once complete, Bomen Solar Farm is expected to generate enough renewable energy to power approximately 35,000 Australian homes.

As we mentioned above, the Wagga Wagga project is also the subject of a rather sensational deal that has seen Spark Infrastructure buying the solar farm from developer Renew Estate.

The acquisition marks Spark’s first move in what it calls its “Value Build” strategy as it seeks to move beyond owning just regulated network assets into a high renewables and decentralised grid.

“The project is our first step towards our goal of building a business platform in adjacent essential service infrastructure focused on renewable energy,” CEO Rick Francis said in a statement.

Alongside the offtake deal with Flow, a further separate PPA was also signed with big-four Australian bank, Westpac, which has agreed to purchase one quarter of the solar farm’s output over 10 years, as part of its commitment – announced on Thursday – to source 100 per cent of its electricity from renewables by 2025. You can read about that deal here.

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