At a signing ceremony today at Port Kembla Steelworks, BlueScope and its partners ESCO Pacific and Schneider Electric announced a landmark seven-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), where BlueScope will offtake 66% of the 133MW of energy generated from ESCO Pacific’s Finley Solar Farm.

The 500,000 solar panel farm to be located at Finley, in the Riverina of NSW, 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 Port Kembla Steelworks.

“Our 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), says John Nowlan, Chief Executive, Australian Steel Products.

“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.”