BayWa r.e. Australia Project is progressing its plan to build the 12 MW Sandy Creek Solar Farm near the small town of Uranquinty in the Riverina region of New South Wales (NSW) after the Southern Regional Planning Panel (SRPP) provided unanimous support for the proposed project.
The 12 MW (17 MWdc) solar farm, to be developed on a 42-hectare site to the north of Uranquinty, about 16 kilometres from Wagga Wagga, will comprise approximately 40,000 solar PV modules mounted on single axis trackers, four containerised power stations and associated infrastructure. Connection to the mains grid will be via an existing 22 kV powerline through a proposed new switching station.
BayWa said the Sandy Creek Solar Farm will generate approximately 32,000 MWh of renewable electricity per year, enough to service the equivalent of about 7,500 households. Construction time for the project has been estimated at nine months.
The Development Application for the project was submitted to Wagga Wagga City Council and approved by the SRPP last month. The SRPP said its decision to provide planning approval was unanimous with BayWa stating the project has been deemed “regionally significant” by the local and state government authorities.
BayWa r.e. Projects Australia managing director Fleur Yaxley welcomed the development’s approval saying the site’s close proximity to the electrical grid and the area’s high solar irradiance makes it “ideal”.
“This is just one of those special projects showcasing renewable energy,” she said.
“It shows us how comfortably community can be connected with construction and generation while reducing carbon emissions and the negative effects of climate change.”
The Sandy Creek Solar Farm is on the boundary of the proposed South-West Renewable Energy Zone (REZ), one of five designated clean energy areas detailed in the NSW government’s electricity roadmap, which is expected to support more than $32 billion of investment in renewable energy generation, storage and transmission in the state.
The project site is also within close proximity to Project EnergyConnect, a new $2.3 billion electricity interconnector being built by Transgrid and ElectraNet between Wagga Wagga and Robertstown in South Australia.
Project EnergyConnect will also deliver an upgrade for the transmission line between Wagga Wagga and Dinawan, which links to the eastern edge of the REZ, and is expected to unlock up to 1.2 GW of additional transmission capacity.
The planning approval of the Sandy Creek Solar Farm, which BayWa acquired when it purchased the assets and project development pipeline of Future Energy in 2017, follows the approval earlier last year of the developer’s 26 MW Yarren Hut Solar Farm to be built near Nyngan, in central NSW.
BayWa’s 300 MW Wimmera Plains Energy Facility near Horsham in Victoria’s west was also given the go ahead in 2021.
BayWa has identified Australia as a key market and since its arrival in 2017 has delivered seven utility scale wind and solar assets, including the 112 MW Karadoc and the 106 MW Yatpool solar farms near Mildura in Victoria.
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