Neoen has given the final go-ahead to build the 350 MW Culcairn Solar Farm in the New South Wales (NSW) Riverina region. The project also has development approval in place for a 100 MW / 200 MWh battery energy storage system.
The announcement comes just days after the project was named as one of five energy infrastructure projects to secure an underwriting contract in the New South Wales (NSW) government’s latest tender round to support the transition from coal to renewables. The projects have been awarded long-term energy service agreements (LTESA) that effectively lock in long-term minimum revenues.
The five projects supported in the third tender round of the NSW Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap represent 750 MW of renewable energy generation and 524 MW / 4,192 MWh of long-duration storage. They are expected to come into operation starting in 2028.
Neoen said engineering and civil construction company Bouygues Construction Australia and Bouygues Energies and Services Australia has been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction contract to deliver the Culcairn Solar Farm which is expected to be operational in 2026.
The project is being developed on an approximately 1,000-hectare site near Culcairn, about 45 kilometres north of Albury. Once operational, the solar plant is expected to produce about 800,000 MWh of renewable energy a year – enough to power up to 160,000 homes.
Neoen intends to contract the majority of the electricity generated by the Culcairn Solar Farm via power purchase agreements.
The project will be the second biggest solar farm in Neoen’s global portfolio, eclipsed only by the 400 MW Western Downs Solar Farm that is now operating in southwest Queensland.
They are part of Neoen’s fast-growing Australian solar, wind and storage portfolio which has now reached 3.75 GW in operation or under construction.
Neoen Australia Managing Director Louis de Sambucy, who described the Culcairn venture as an “essential project” for Neoen, said the company is aiming to have 10 GW of large-scale solar and wind and battery energy storage capacity in Australia by the end of the decade as part of a multi-billion-dollar forward investment plan.
“We have a massive pipeline of several gigawatts of projects which we are all very excited about,” he said. “Our ambition is to continue to have very highly competitive solar, wind farms and batteries, combining the three technologies in every state and to leverage this multi-technology approach to be able to offer the solutions for both our energy customers and for the grid as well.”
The Culcairn project is expected to generate 400 jobs during construction, as well as seven operational jobs in its projected minimum 25-year operational phase. In addition, 60% of the project’s development cost is expected to be spent within the Riverina region.
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