Pacific adds 700 MW NSW solar farm to growing pipeline

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Pacific Partnerships, a subsidiary of Australian construction and engineering firm Cimic Group, has acquired the development rights for the Cobbora solar and battery energy storage project being developed near Dubbo in central west New South Wales (NSW).

The Cobbora project, originally proposed by Sydney-headquartered renewables developer Marble Energy, comprises a 700 MW solar farm and a 200 MW / 200 MWh battery energy storage system although Pacific said there is scope to increase the capacity of the battery up to 1,600 MWh.

The project is being developed across a 3,300-hectare site about 55 kilometres east of Dubbo, in the heart of the proposed Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone that is a key part of the NSW government’s strategy to replace ageing coal-fired power stations with renewables and storage. The site, which was to host the Cobbora Coal Mine project, is mostly cleared and used for sheep and cattle grazing and is expected to continue to host sheep grazing when the solar farm is operational.

Pacific will manage the delivery and operations of the project through its energy business Pacific Partnerships Energy, while fellow Cimic company UGL will build the solar farm and battery energy storage system and provide operation and maintenance services once completed.

“Cimic is committed to Australia’s energy transition and is developing the large-scale renewable generation assets and infrastructure required to support it,” Cimic Chairman Juan Santamaria said.

“NSW is part of our strategic new energy focus as we expand our diversified national portfolio of assets and contribute to the Australian Government’s commitments to reach net zero emissions by 2050.”

Marble Energy Co-Director Gordon Ou said Pacific’s acquisition of the development rights “provides a high degree of certainty for a successful project” and the long-term generation of clean, affordable and reliable power supply for homes and businesses across NSW.

An environmental impact statement for Cobbora is due to be submitted to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment in late 2024, before being placed on public exhibition for community and stakeholder feedback. Marble Energy has previously indicated construction would commence construction in 2025 with the solar farm to start exportin by 2028.

The Cobbora project is the latest larger-scale solar project for Pacific whose growing portfolio includes the recently completed 102 MW Glenrowan Solar Farm in northeast Victoria, and the 250 MW Hopeland Solar Farm being developed in Queensland’s Western Downs region.

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