BlueScope Steel has announced the signing of one of the largest corporate renewable energy PPA’s with ESCO Pacific and Finley Solar Farm. Schneider electric Energy and Sustainability Service (ESS) advised BlueScope Steel on the strategy to reduce costs in the short term as well as reducing volatility over the longer term through fixed-price-for-power contracting.

The seven year PPA will see Bluescope Steel offtake 66% of the 133MW of energy generated from ESCO’s Pacific Finely Solar Farm. The agreement also fixes the power price over the life of the contract, reducing the price for power in the immediate term and providing a long-term buffer against market volatility.

Schneider Electric’s Energy & Sustainability Services vice president Brian Morris said” “We are delighted to see the results of our partnership with BlueScope Steel come to fruition in the form of a landmark PPA deal with ESCO Pacific. With both wholesale electricity and LGC prices more than doubling between 2015 and 2018, companies have been left struggling with inflated energy bills and budgets.”

The 500,000 solar panel farm will be located at Finley, 100km west of Albury in the Riverina of NSW and is expected to be online by mid-2019. The ground-mounted solar farm will be located on a 300 hectare site which is almost half the size of BlueScope’s Port Kembla Steelworks.

The solar farm will provide 130 jobs during the construction phase and create eight permanent jobs once fully operations. Investment in the project is expected to exceed $250million.

“BlueScope’s approach to energy has always been about balancing the ‘Trilemma’, whereby we have access to affordable and reliable energy whilst reducing emissions where we can – which is why we support the intent of the National Energy Guarantee (NEG).,” said BlueScope’s chief executive Australian Steel Products John Nowlan.

“This PPA is one of Australia’s largest corporate offtake agreements, and is the largest with a solar farm to date, and complements our firm electricity supply arrangements, which provide the reliable electricity supply we need for manufacturing processes that must operate 24/7. The PPA will help keep downward pressure on our energy costs, and will support the gradual transition to renewable energy. The volume under the agreement is equivalent to 20% of BlueScope’s total Australian electricity purchases.”

“BlueScope supports Australia’s 2030 emissions target, including the government’s target to reduce electricity sector emissions by 26% on 2005 levels by 2030. By investing in solar energy, we are helping accelerate the decarbonisation of the electricity grid by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by around 300,000 tonnes of CO2e each year. This is comparable to taking 90,000 cars off the road and is enough to power 60,000 homes.”