Australia's Origin buys large solar farm project

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MELBOURNE, April 28 (Reuters) - Australia's second largest power producer, Origin Energy (ORG.AX), has bought a large solar farm development project in the most populous state of New South Wales as it makes a push to replace capacity from the country's biggest coal-fired plant.

Origin said on Thursday it had acquired from Reach Solar the Yarrabee Solar Farm development project, designed with an initial capacity of 450 megawatts (MW), with state approval to expand to up to 900 MW.

The companies declined to comment on the sale price.

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Origin said it aimed to make a final investment decision on building the solar farm "over the next couple of years, subject to upgrades to the Transgrid transmission network", which is due to expand to handle supply from a massive hydropower project, Snowy 2.0.

Origin was attracted to the Yarrabee solar project partly for its scale, location in New South Wales, and its advanced stage, complete with planning approvals, a spokesperson said.

In February the company said it was bringing forward plans to shut its 2,880 MW Eraring coal-fired power station in New South Wales by seven years to 2025, stirring market fears of a potential supply gap.

Yarrabee is in the same Riverina area where infrastructure investor Federation Asset Management agreed this week to buy a majority stake in a large battery project.

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Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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