The $104 million project will comprise approximately 200,000 solar modules mounted on single axis trackers. A key feature of the project is the inclusion of a 19 MW/19 MWh lithium-ion battery storage system, an asset which was highlighted by the department in its State Significant Development assessment.
“Importantly, the energy storage facility would enable the project to store solar energy for dispatch to the grid outside of daylight hours and/or during periods of peak demand, which has the potential to contribute to increased grid stability and energy security,” the department said.
The project is expected to generate 155 GWh of clean electricity a year – enough to power the equivalent of about 30,000 homes – while avoiding 131,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
The farm will be developed on a 260 hectare site about 25km west of Tamworth in the New England region of New South Wales.
The Tamworth Solar Farm is not located in any of the state’s identified Renewable Energy Zones but TransGrid has confirmed it will have access to the grid at a location with available network capacity. A substation built at the site will connect to the 132 kV Tamworth to Gunnedah transmission line that crosses over the site.
The approval is reliant upon the developers adhering to certain conditions, including maintaining the agricultural land capability of the site and infrastructure decommissioning, but the planning authority has classified the project as a “state significant” development.
The Tamworth Solar Farm is being developed by Sydney-based Oriens Energy, founded in 2017 by Christian Bindel and Victor Bocioc.
The project is the latest in a string of solar farms planned for the New England region with the presence of major transmission lines and existing electricity substations attracting considerable interest from developers.
The 110 MW Orange Grove Solar Farm and the 150 MW Gunnedah Solar Farm are less than 40km away from the project site. Construction has commenced on the Gunnedah project while Orange Grove Solar Farm is approved but yet to commence construction. The 500 MW Middlebrook Solar Farm which is in the assessment process is less than 60km away.
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