23 Apr 2024

Genesis Energy, FRV Start $104 Million Canterbury Solar Project

23 Apr 2024  by newstalkzb   

The 63 megawatt (MW) solar farm at Lauriston, on the Canterbury Plains, will power the equivalent of nearly 13,000 houses. Photo / File

Genesis Energy and joint venture partner, FRV Australia, have begun construction of their 63 megawatt (MW) solar farm at Lauriston, on the Canterbury Plains.

Once operational the project - one hour’s drive from Christchurch - will power the equivalent of nearly 13,000 houses.

The 93-hectare farm is expected to create more than 50 jobs during the construction phase, and will employ up to three fulltime staff when operational, Genesis said.

The expected construction costs are about $104 million and the project is expected to be generating electricity by the end of this year.

The joint venture also sign a 10-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Genesis Energy which will take all the renewable energy from the site.

Genesis chief executive Malcolm Johns, speaking at a sod turning ceremony, said the start of construction was an important milestone for the joint venture and for the country.

“For New Zealand to reach net zero 2050, the country’s energy must become 60 per cent electric, 95 per cent renewable and available 100 per cent of the time,” he said.

“Solar has a clear role to play in this transition, and Lauriston is the first stage of the joint venture commitment to build 500 MW of solar capacity throughout New Zealand,” Johns said.

FRV Australia is co-owned by Canadian pension fund and infrastructure investor OMERS.

Carlo Frigerio, FRV Australia’s chief executive, said Lauriston would be the largest solar farm in New Zealand.

The joint venture partners are also assessing three North Island sites with a combined capacity of up to 400MW as Genesis - which runs the coal and gas-fired Huntly power station - focuses on moving to around 95 per cent renewable generation by 2035.

“Solar energy from sites like Lauriston will also enable Genesis to reduce our generation emissions as we move to become net zero by 2040,” Johns said.

The joint venture has selected Australian renewables specialist BEON to build the project.

Genesis, and many of the other big power generators, are spending millions of dollars on building wind, solar and battery projects to make the country less reliant on carbon-emitting fossil fuels.

New Zealand’s Climate Change Response Amendment Act sets out to reduce net emissions of all greenhouse gases - except biogenic methane - to zero by 2050.


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