Australian ESG investor Providence Asset Group (PAG) signed an initial 30-month power purchase agreement (PPA) with SmartestEnergy Australia, a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Marubeni Corporation [8002:JP], as reported by PV Tech on July 7. PAG will deliver renewable electricity from its over 30 community solar farms to SmartestEnergy. The agreement, with a potential extension of ten years, would provide the Australian grid with about 500GWh of green power infusion every year. In addition, as part of PAG’s plan to pilot its flagship LAVO | HEOS green hydrogen technology, the company would deploy LAVO | HEOS storage units at the project’s locations.
Founded in 2018, PAG has been promoting renewable assets and technologies in Australia. The company announced in June 2020 an investment of AUD5m to establish a hydrogen energy research center at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). A month later, the company joined the Hydrogen Council, a global CEO-led organization dedicated to hydrogen solutions. Furthermore, it invested another AUD500m in the development of 28 solar farms and hydrogen storage projects across the state of New South Wales (NSW) last September, which, by completion in April 2022, would have a combined capacity of approximately 100MW.
Australia has seen a decline in large-scale renewable energy investment in recent years. To illustrate, the country’s only renewable project executed in 1Q21 was a solar farm in NSW with a capacity of 400MW, 30% lower than the 2020 average committed capacity nationwide. During this period, the financial commitment of large-scale renewables even reached a five-year low. The primary cause, according to a survey by PwC, was limitations in the grid’s transmission and distribution capabilities. While shying away from investing in grid expansion, the Australian government has shifted focus to grid stability measures, such as battery energy storage and green hydrogen technology. For example, the Australian government announced an AUD1.5bn plan to facilitate battery manufacturing this March and another AUD275.5m investment in clean hydrogen hubs this April.