Uterne helps power Alice Springs
Making the most of the top end sunshine
After investment to quadruple its capacity, Epuron's Uterne solar power station produces enough electricity to power 1,110 average Alice Springs households.
CEFC finance has been critical for this expansion as the project was too small to appeal to the commercial project finance market. By quadrupling the capacity of our Uterne plant, Alice Springs can reduce its dependence on gas and diesel-fired generation and use a clean, renewable power source.Andrew DurranExecutive Director and Co-Founder, Epuron
In 2014 the CEFC provided $13 million to finance the expansion of the Uterne solar power station at Alice Springs by owner operator Epuron. The finance was repaid in November 2018.
Epuron is a privately owned Australian renewable energy company with a focus on development, ownership and operation of utility-scale renewable energy projects. The completed Uterne project, which was commissioned in July 2015, has a capacity of 3.9 MW (AC) or 4.1 MW (DC). Its original capacity was 1.0 MW (DC).
In the local Arrernte language, Uterne means ‘bright sunny day’. The power plant utilises solar-tracking technology which increases daily energy production by up to 30 per cent compared with conventional fixed-tilt installations.
By feeding electricity into the local grid, the solar power plant makes Alice Springs less dependent on gas and diesel-fired generation, reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. With the extra capacity, the Uterne plant can supply about four per cent of electricity used by Alice Springs annually, and can meet eight per cent of demand on a sunny day.
The CEFC finance was critical for the Uterne expansion, as the project was too small to appeal to the commercial project finance market. It demonstrated the potential for structured project finance to be used in other similar smaller-scale projects. Epuron owns and operates the facility, with the power sold to the Northern Territory Government’s energy utility Territory Generation under a long-term power purchase agreement.