Elgin gets green light for biggest solar and storage project to date

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Elgin Energy has received the green light from the Victorian government to build the Elaine Solar Farm project. a 150 MW solar farm and 250 MWh battery energy storage system being developed near the town of the same name, about 120 kilometres west of Melbourne.

The approval comes just three months after Elgin secured government approval to develop the 60 MW Shady Creek Solar Farm and 60 MW / 120 MWh battery energy storage system near Yarragon in Victoria’s Gippsland region.

That followed the New South Wales (NSW) government’s approval for Elgin’s 60 MW Glanmire solar farm and 60 MW / 120 MWh battery energy storage system being developed near Bathurst in the state’s Central Tablelands region.

Dublin-headquartered Elgin described the latest approval as a “significant milestone,” noting that the Elaine project will be the company’s largest hybrid project to date.

“This milestone is a testament to Elgin Australia’s unwavering commitment as we continue to strive to accelerate a project pipeline of over 4 GW across Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland,” the company said.

Elgin said the Elaine solar and battery storage project “will contribute significantly to Victoria’s renewable energy generation targets of 50% by 2030 and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.”

Application for approval was submitted to the Victorian Department of Transport and Planning in October 2023, with the final decision announced on 3 May 2024.

With a planning permit now granted, Elgin is aiming for the Elaine project to be shovel ready by 2025 and for operations to commence in 2026.

The Elaine project includes a 150 MW solar farm, 250 MWh of battery energy storage capacity, and associated infrastructure spread across two blocks totalling approximately 230 hectares.

The power plant will comprise about 260,000 solar panels mounted on a single axis tracking system. The asset is expected to connect to the grid via a new 220 kV transmission line to the adjacent 220 kV Elaine Terminal Station

Elgin, now majority owned by Danish investment firm Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) after a deal done just last month, has been present in the Australian market since 2018.

The Elaine development is one of four large-scale solar and battery energy storage projects the company has announced for Australia, noting they are part of 6 GW of solar and 3 GW storage it has in development across Australia, the United Kingdom, and Ireland.

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