Renewable energy projects provide green shoots for Gippsland
Octopus Investments media release
26 July 2021
Octopus Australia and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation are joining forces to develop renewable energy assets that will help the Gippsland region power its transition into a green superpower.
The landmark joint venture will help accelerate the delivery of both the proposed 44 MWac Perry Bridge solar farm and 80 MWac Fulham solar farm in Gippsland. The Perry Bridge solar farm has achieved planning approval from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) on April 15th, 2021, while the Fulham solar farm planning process is currently underway. Octopus Australia and the CEFC have purchased the rights to develop the projects from local Gippsland based developer Solis Re, and the three parties will be working closely together to bring the projects to financial close.
When constructed, the Perry Bridge and Fulham solar projects will be a boost to the local economy of the Victorian region which is still recovering from recent bushfires, drought and the decline of local industries including timber and coal based generation. These projects offer an exciting new pathway for the Gippsland community to benefit from the clean energy economy. The projects are also expected to showcase the ability of sheep grazing and solar farming to co-exist, providing a diversified revenue stream to local landholders.
The development, construction and operation of the two solar farms are expected to create over 250 direct jobs during the construction period. Further employment will be generated for local businesses who will soon be able to register their interest to fill a wide range of services needed to support the developments.
Octopus Australia is a subsidiary of the Octopus Group. Founded in 2000, it is one of the world’s largest investors in clean energy with over $6 billion deployed across more than 250 projects. Octopus entered Australia in 2018 and is the owner of the 333MWdc Darlington Point Solar Farm, currently the largest solar farm generating into the National Electricity Market and is developing multiple other renewable energy projects across Australia.
Octopus Australia’s Managing Director Sam Reynolds said: “Gippsland has its roots in the electricity industry, and these projects help the region continue that journey. As the first renewable energy projects to be built at scale in the region, the Perry Bridge and Fulham solar farms symbolise how the region can be transformed into a green energy powerhouse for the 21st century.
“Through its investments, the CEFC has helped Australia’s renewable energy sector achieve rapid growth in recent years, delivering substantial amounts of clean energy across Australia. This experience will be critical as we develop these renewable energy assets for Gippsland.”
Dennis Freedman, Octopus Australia’s Head of Investment and Development said “We are so grateful for the support from the local community, including land owners, council, community groups and the business sector. They have a vision for their region and we are excited to work alongside them to turn it into reality.”
With the early retirement of the Yallourn coal fired power station being recently announced, the nearby Perry Bridge and Fulham developments form part of the suite of new energy generation that will be required to replace this asset.
The CEFC is helping cut emissions by investing $10 billion on behalf of the Australian Government across the economy – in agriculture, cleantech innovation, energy generation and storage, infrastructure, property, transport and waste.
CEFC Executive Director Monique Miller said: “Investment in new, clean generation, storage, transmission and infrastructure is critical to support the security and reliability of Australia’s energy grid. We are delighted to be further extending our investments in Victoria’s renewable energy sector with these exciting developments in the Gippsland region.”
Media release, 2021