Viva Energy to build solar farm at Geelong Refinery
Viva Energy said it is moving ahead with its plan to build a solar energy farm at the Geelong Refinery in Victoria, Australia, consistent with its strategy to diversify the site and transition to a renewable energy hub.
The solar farm will generate between 15–20 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy and meet up to 10% of the Geelong Refinery’s total electricity needs. Wind power already meets around one-third of the refinery’s annual electricity needs, under a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Acciona, which owns and operates the Mt. Gellibrand Wind Farm in Colac.
While the electricity generated by the solar farm will primarily service the refinery’s power needs on site, surplus electricity can be exported to the grid, supplying the local area with renewable energy and further decarbonising the state of Victoria’s power network.
The solar project also provides a pool of renewable energy, consistent with Viva Energy’s plans for green hydrogen production and vehicle refuelling at the New Energies Service Station (NESS) adjacent to the refinery site.
“We are advancing a range of projects at our Energy Hub at Geelong, including the proposal for a new LNG import terminal and other new energy projects including a hydrogen refueling offer aimed at heavy vehicles. We expect to make a final investment decision on these projects during 2022,” said Viva Energy CEO Scott Wyatt.
“Viva Energy supports action to address climate change, and we are looking for every opportunity to reduce our own emissions, develop new fuels and introduce renewable, zero emission energy sources like hydrogen and solar,” he said.
Situated on the land at the northern end of the Geelong Refinery site, the solar farm will utilise latest- technology bi-facial solar modules which will be mounted on single axis trackers to follow the path of the sun during the day and maximise the solar farm efficiency.
As planning progresses, consideration will be given to minimising any potential impacts of the development on refinery neighbours. Vegetation buffers will be retained on road and rail frontages around the site to minimise the visual impact, with treatment on the solar panels to reduce glare.
“As one of the largest energy providers in Australia, Viva Energy is excited about the evolving energy future. Our Geelong site is crucial to the supply and security of our current energy needs but also has huge potential to be part of the energies we will need for the future,” Wyatt said.
“Our vision is for the site to manufacture and deliver traditional fuels, as well as offering transitional and alternative energies, playing an important role in providing energy security now and into the future,” Wyatt said. “The Geelong site is an ideal location for an energy gateway as it is home to a highly skilled manufacturing workforce, is an existing industrial facility, has access to the Port of Geelong and is close to major population centres where the energy is needed.”