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Construction begins on Australia’s largest solar-plus-storage project

March 22, 2021

Renew Economy:

Construction has officially begun on the huge New England Solar Farm, the first stage of a proposed 720 megawatt hybrid solar and battery project developed by UPC\ACRenewables Australia near Uralla in northern New South Wales.

Eventually UPC/AC Renewables says the $768 million project will produce1,800,000 megawatt hours of electricity, enough, it says, to power 250,000 typical NSW homes. However, that is likely to be at least three year away.

Construction is expected in two stages. The first will build 400MW of solar capacity, a substation and a 50MW/1hour Battery Energy Storage System (BESS). Green Light Contractors, a subsidiary of Spanish solar company Elecnor, has been contracted to build the first stage.

A spokesman said stage one in its entirety would hopefully be finished by early 2023, when the project would start feeding energy into the grid through existing 330kV transmission lines, owned by TransGrid, that pass through the site.

The second stage will build a further 320MW of solar and extend the battery capacity to 400MWh. However, the finances for that stage have not been finalised. The spokesman said the hope was to start work on phase two before phase one was finished, meaning the entire project could by up and running within three years.

“Once fully complete, the solar farm and battery project will be Australia’s largest hybrid solar and battery energy storage facility. It will play an important role in the energy transition already underway across the country,” UPC/AC Renewables chief executive Anton Rohner said.

[James Fernyhough]

More: Construction begins on Australia’s biggest solar and battery hybrid in New England

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