Monday, February 26, 2024

Lodestone loads up on Canterbury sites

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Three consented sites earmarked for agrivoltaic solar farms.
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Lodestone Energy 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.

Lodestone general manager development Daniel Cunningham said the Dunsandel farm, which recently received consent approval from Selwyn Council, is located on a 100ha 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,” he said.

The Dunsandel farm will connect via Orion’s new Norwood GXP, and 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.

The Lodestone site at Kaitaia started generating electricity in late 2023, and the Edgecumbe site is nearing completion. The Waiotahe site will soon begin 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.

Lodestone managing director Gary Holden said diversifying supply locations to the South Island is a key part of the company’s strategy of selling power to customers across the country. 

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.

 “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,” Holden said.

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