Lodestone Energy gets the green light for South Island sites
Lodestone Energy, New Zealand’s leading solar generation company, has added three Canterbury and South Canterbury sites to its second phase of agrivoltaic solar farms. The three consented sites are located in Clandeboye, Mount Somers and Dunsandel.
The most recently consented farm at Dunsandel will produce 80 GWh per year, increasing the total generation available for Lodestone’s customers by an additional 150 GWh per year from these South Island locations.
Daniel Cunningham, General Manager Development, says, “In keeping with Lodestone’s agrivoltaic approach for all farms, the Dunsandel farm, which recently received consent approval from Selwyn Council, is located on a 100-hectare block leased to Lodestone and will continue to maintain productive farming activity. This combined use of agricultural and solar productivity results in more efficient use of the land and creates new value for the nation.”
The Dunsandel farm will connect via Orion’s new Norwood GXP while the Clandeboye and Mount Somers farms will connect to the Alpine Energy and Electricity Ashburton networks. Construction for all three is planned from 2024 through to 2026.
These consents land while the Lodestone site at Kaitaia started generating electricity in late 2023, the Edgecumbe site nears completion and the Waiotahe site breaks ground starting construction. Lodestone is continuing to build new farms, with two more of their phase 1 sites at Whitianga and Dargaville expected to start construction in 2024.
The three South Island solar farms, developed in partnership with HES Aotearoa, will be partly funded by a $250 million debt facility with ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited.
Managing Director Gary Holden says, “Diversifying our supply locations to the South Island is a key part of our strategy of selling power to customers across the country. Getting enough volume, coming on-line with pace, is a critical part of satisfying consumer demand.”
In 2023, Lodestone announced an agreement to supply The Warehouse Group’s 260 stores, in both the North and South Islands, through an innovative form of energy contracting.
Lodestone’s phase 1 capital program of five solar farms was fully funded in 2022 and they are on track to begin construction on the remaining two farms in 2024. Lodestone’s phase 2 is planned to be larger in scale, along with these three South Island sites a number of additional sites are expected to be announced in 2024.
Gary Holden adds, “Our objective is to ensure the farms are welcomed by local councils and neighbours and to find as many like-minded customers as we can. In the end, those willing to invite these farms into their future planning will play a key role in the energy transition to an electricity market with 100% renewable energy.”
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