350 MW solar and storage project gets state tick of approval


The Blind Creek Solar Farm project, which will combine up to 350 MW of PV with up to 300 MW/600 MWh of battery energy storage capacity, has received development consent from the New South Wales (NSW) Department of Planning and Environment.

A joint venture between Octopus Australia, a subsidiary of UK-based global fund manager Octopus Group, and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), the Blind Creek project is being developed near Bungendore in southeast NSW.

Construction of the estimated $450 million (USD 300 million) project is forecast to commence in the second half of 2024 with the asset set to come online in 2026.

Octopus said the start of construction will be largely driven by the network connection process which it is now working through in parallel with the procurement process for both the solar and battery.

The Blind Creek solar and battery project is being developed on pastoral land about 8km north of Bungendore. Octopus said the site, strategically located between the major load centres of Sydney and Canberra, is on a strong part of the transmission network.

The facility will connect into an existing 330 kV transmission line that crosses the project site and the developers expect to use the combination of solar and storage to write “innovative power purchase agreements shaped to the usage of large energy users in NSW.”

The project, which was awarded the Clean Energy Council’s 2022 Community Engagement Award that celebrates excellence in the renewable energy industry, has been planned to co-exist with agricultural activities. The solar arrays will be designed to facilitate rotational grazing of sheep and the panel spacing will allow for tractor access.

“We believe hybrid solar, storage and agriculture projects are the best way to optimise firmed generation and land usage,” Octopus Australia Head of Investment and Development Sonia Teitel said. “We are excited to progress Blind Creek Solar Farm to achieve its next major development milestones.”

The Blind Creek project is the latest for the Octopus Australia and CEFC joint venture which was first announced in August 2021. Among the JV’s projects is the Fulham solar and storage project being developed in eastern Victoria.

Teitel said the Fulham project, which would combine 80 MW of solar with an 80 MW/100 MWh DC-coupled battery, was recently awarded a VRET2 contract and is scheduled to be the “first firmed renewable energy plant connected in Australia.”

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