X-Elio strikes million-dollar deal with NSW council


Renewables developer X-Elio has agreed to make a series of $200,000 (USD 130,000) annual payments to the Dubbo Regional Council as part of a draft planning agreement for the $185 million Forest Glen Solar Farm and battery energy storage project being developed near the New South Wales (NSW) town.

The Forest Glen project, being developed at Minore, about 16 kilometres west of Dubbo, includes a 90 MW solar farm and a 25 MW battery energy storage system. The NSW state significant project, that is expected to generate 221 GWh of green energy annually when complete, will connect to the national grid via Essential Energy’s existing 132 kV transmission line that traverses the site.

The project state government approval in February 2023.

At that time, the NSW Department of Planning and Environment said it had received just two submissions from neighbours of the proposed site, both objecting to the project. The submissions cited visual impact, land devaluation, and an increased threat of local flooding among their concerns.

The state however approved the project, saying it would provide a range of benefits for the region and the state as a whole, including creating up to 200 construction jobs and assisting in transitioning the electricity sector from coal and gas-fired power stations to renewable energy.

X-Elio has also agreed to make a $200,000 community contribution to the Dubbo council each year for five years, commencing when Forest Glen begins operation.

The funds are to be used for social housing development schemes with council saying public submissions on how to allocate the monies were collected during a community consultation period that closed Monday.

Council said it will discuss those submissions at a future council meeting and if suitable expressions of interest for social housing schemes have not been received, funds will be allocated to eligible community benefit projects across the local government area.

Forest Glen is part of X-Elio’s growing Australian portfolio which also includes the 200 MW Blue Grass Solar Farm near Chinchilla in Queensland.

The company, which is owned by global investment firms Canadian-headquartered Brookfield, is also developing the 420 MW Sixteen Mile Solar Farm in Queensland and the 131 MW Maxwell Downs Solar Farm and battery energy storage system in NSW.

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