Lightsource bp wins federal environmental approval for 750 MW solar, 3,000 MWh storage project


Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek has announced approval for the Sandy Creek Solar Farm and battery energy storage project that is being developed by Lightsource bp in the heart of the New South Wales (NSW) Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone (REZ).

Lightsource bp said the project is to comprise a 750 MW (840 MWdc) solar farm coupled with an up to 750 MW / 3,000 MWh battery energy storage system.

If built to that capacity, the Sandy Creek project it will eclipse Acen’s 720 MW New England Solar Farm being built near Uralla in northern NSW. It will also be the biggest battery in the country, overshadowing the 1,200 MW / 2,400 MWh Melbourne Renewable Energy Hub being developed by Equis Australia in Victoria.

The Sandy Creek project, being developed on a 1,600-hectare site near Goolma, about 25 kilometres southwest of Dunedoo and 55 km east of Dubbo, is expected to generate up to 1.7 million MWh of electricity a year, equivalent to the power needs of approximately 200,000 homes.

The facility will connect to the national electricity grid via the proposed Elong Elong Energy Hub being developed by EnergyCo as part of the Central-West Orana REZ transmission project.

“This is another big step in the government’s plan to make Australia a renewable energy superpower,” Plibersek said. “We know projects like this are vital to boosting renewables, but they are also great for local jobs and economies.”

Plibersek said the project will support up to 600 jobs during the construction phase and is one of 45 renewable energy projects she has ticked off with another 128 in the approvals pipeline.

“We want to unlock Australia’s potential to be a renewable energy superpower. It’s a huge task – we’re working overtime to get there,” she said.

The announcement is the latest milestone for Lightsource bp. Now owned solely by British oil and gas company BP, Lightsource bp late last year declared its intent to ramp up activities in the Asia Pacific region following the sale of five PV projects in Australia with a combined capacity of more than 1 GW.

Lightsource bp APAC Managing Director Adam Pegg said at the time that the sale was part of the company’s normal recycling of capital to accelerate renewable asset growth.

“We will use the proceeds from this sale to accelerate the development of our pipeline across the APAC region, advancing exciting projects in New Zealand, Taiwan, and South Korea, as well as continuing to be a leader in Australia,” he said.

Other projects in Lightsource bp’s development pipeline include the 520 MW Goulburn River  and the 400 MW Gundary solar projects in NSW, and the 364 MW West Mokoan Solar Farm being developed in Victoria.



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