Neoen Australia is pursuing plans to build a 500MW wind, solar and battery storage hub in what it expects will be a new renewable energy zone created in the New South Wales region of New England – and right in the heart of National Party MP Barnaby Joyce’s electorate.
The hybrid renewables project, called the Thunderbolt Energy Hub, proposes to combine around 380MW of wind power, 120MW of solar and a 400MW battery (MWh not yet specified) on land between the towns of Bendemeer and Kentucky.
The project is one of two proposed in the closing months of 2020 by French developer Neoen for NSW, including the 500MW Great Western Battery project – a standalone big battery that will be located in the Lithgow region and linked to Transgrid’s transmission network.
The proposed Thunderbolt site, which covers territory in both the Tamworth Regional Council and Uralla Shire Council, sits in the New England REZ, which was identified by the NSW government as potentially supplying 8,000 MW of renewable energy.
As a scoping report commissioned by Neoen notes, the huge potential of the region has a lot to do with its “ideal” location, close to existing high voltage power lines that connect the NSW east coast and Queensland.