600 MW solar+battery project gets NSW government go-ahead


Project developer UPC/AC Renewables Australia has announced the New South Wales (NSW) Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) has approved the 400 MW Stubbo Solar Farm and 200 MW/200 MWh battery energy storage project to be built near Dubbo in the state’s Orana region.

Funded by shareholders of UPC\AC Australia, a joint venture between UPC Renewables and AC Energy, a subsidiary of Ayala Corporation in the Philippines, the solar farm will comprise an estimated 800,000 single-axis tracking solar modules and a battery energy storage system meaning the project can dispatch energy when it is most needed during peak hours and provide important grid stability services.

When completed, the Stubbo Solar Farm will generate more than one million MWh of solar energy, enough to power more than 150,000 homes and helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 600,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum.

UPC\AC Renewables Australia head of solar development Killian Wentrup said the Stubbo Solar Farm would now push ahead with its grid connection application and the appointment of a main EPC contractor.

“We hope to begin construction by early to mid-2022, subject to finalisation of our final contracts and securing finance,” Wentrup said.

“We want to thank the local community for its ongoing feedback, which helped us make changes to the project proposal and to reduce some of the potential impacts.

“We look forward to continuing that positive relationship over many years to come.”

The project will be developed across a 1,250-hectare site about 10 kilometres north of Gulgong, approximately 115 km east of Dubbo and will connect to the National Electricity Market (NEM) via TransGrid’s 330 kV Wellington to Wollar TransGrid transmission line which transects the site.

Transgrid’s 330 kV transmission line crosses the project site.

Image: UPC/AC

The DPIE released its final assessment decision this month, concluding that the project would support the transition of the state’s energy sector to renewable sources and provide stability for the grid.

“It would contribute 400 MW of renewable energy to the National Electricity Market, including a battery storage facility with a capacity of 200 MW/200 MWh,” the department wrote in its Assessment Report.

“Importantly, the battery 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 increase grid stability and energy security.

“Further, existing adjacent transmission lines offer an opportunity for direct grid connection without significant new overhead lines and easements, and any potential impacts and efficiency losses that may result.”

The site is strategically located within the NSW government’s Central West Renewable Zone, that it expects will help unlock 3 GW of renewable energy generation and $4.4 billion in private capital investment by the mid-2020s.

The project is one of several that the JV has in its Australian pipeline, including the 720 MW New England Solar Farm and co-located potential 400 MW battery being built near Uralla in central NSW, the 160 MW Axedale Solar Farm in central Victoria, and the fully approved 250 MW Baroota Pumped Hydro project in South Australia.

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