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Areva, Unable to Obtain Funding, Scraps Australia Solar Plan

Nov. 12 (Bloomberg) -- A venture including Areva SA abandoned plans for a A$1 billion ($1 billion) solar-thermal project in Australia after failing to get government funding.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency, established last year to spur investment in the industry, is “no longer pursuing development” of the 250-megawatt Solar Dawn plant in Queensland state, it said today in a statement. ARENA also said it won’t fund a solar power project in Victoria state proposed by CLP Holdings Ltd.’s Australian unit, EnergyAustralia.

While Paris-based Areva and its partner, Wind Prospect Group Ltd., won’t go ahead with Solar Dawn, the venture “remains committed to Australia’s large-scale concentrated solar power industry,” it said in an e-mailed statement.

The government agency said it’s continuing talks with Pacific Hydro Pty and Fotowatio Renewable Ventures about their proposed solar farm in New South Wales as the nation moves toward a target of getting 20 percent of its power from renewable energy by the end of the decade. ARENA also is still in discussions with Infigen Energy and Suntech Power Holdings Co. on another planned solar project in New South Wales.

‘Disappointed’

Although the Areva venture was awarded A$464 million in Australian government funds in 2011 to develop the solar plant, it failed to meet a June 30 financing deadline and to reach a power-supply agreement. The Queensland government also pulled A$75 million in funding for the project. The federal government in July referred Solar Dawn to ARENA for consideration.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has about A$2.2 billion in funds available for investment, it said today as it released the organization’s funding strategy.

EnergyAustralia is seeking to develop a solar project in northern Victoria with a capacity of as much as 180 megawatts. The Melbourne-based company is “disappointed with the decision,” it said in an e-mailed statement. “We will continue to assess what funding options are available.”

First Solar Inc. and AGL Energy Ltd. in June won A$129.7 million in government funds to build a 159-megawatt solar project across two sites in New South Wales.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Paton in Sydney at jpaton4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Hobbs at ahobbs4@bloomberg.net

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