Europe’s second-largest oil company, British Petroleum (BP), has failed to meet a financing deadline despite today’s announcement that the company has raised dividends to shareholders by 14%. The Australian government has reopened a solar funding competition to AGL Energy, TRUenergy and Suntech Power, to construct the Moree solar farm in New South Wales.
BP, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures and Pacific Hydro were awarded AUD$306.5 million in funds last year; however the companies had not signed the required PPAs and missed the December 15, 2011, deadline to bring the deal to a close. BP has said it will stick with the planned 150MW solar project in Moree, after deciding to exit the business amid current global price declines.
Energy minister Martin Ferguson said in a statement, “The government is committed to the deployment of large-scale renewable energy technologies in Australia. However, we must also ensure that taxpayer money is spent prudently.”
Suntech and its partner, Infigen Energy had lost the first round of the competition. AGL and CLP Holdings and TRUenergy had also sought government solar grants last year.
The government expects to make a decision on the proposed AUD$923 million PV plant in the second quarter of 2012.
Australia, which has set a target of generating 20% of its power from renewable energy sources by the end of the decade, also said last June it would provide AUD$464 million to a solar project in Queensland led by a unit of Paris-based Areva SA. That venture proposed a 250MW solar-thermal and gas hybrid power plant, according to the government.