Neoen’s massive plans for a 350MW solar farm and 100MW big battery in southern NSW, each ranking among Australia’s largest, have secured planning approval from NSW planning authorities, but with conditions to minimise potential environmental impacts.
The Culcairn solar and battery project will see around 900,000 solar panels installed with single-axis tracking across an area of just over 1,000 hectares. An additional 100MW/200MWh lithium-ion big battery will also be added to the project to provide grid support and firming services, which Neoen says will put ‘downward pressure’ on wholesale electricity prices, particularly at peak demand periods.
The NSW Independent Planning Commission (IPC), has granted the Culcairn project development approval, giving the green light to a project that will generate an estimated $400 to $500 million in infrastructure investment and around 400 jobs during its construction phase.
The Independent Planning Commission approved the project with a series of conditions, which will require Neoen to undertake measures that minimise any potentially adverse environmental impacts, and the preparation of a plan for returning the site to its original condition after the project is decommissioned.
The approval adds to more than $2.3 billion worth of major new solar projects that have signed off by the NSW IPC, many of which will be located within the New South Wales Riverina region, set to become host to one of the state’s first Renewable Energy Zones, in the South-West region.