Renewables developer ACEN Australia has awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for its 400MWac Stubbo solar farm to PCL Construction, a US-headquartered company. PCL will also handle ongoing operations and maintenance of the project for the first two years of its lifespan.
Construction of the project initially began in late 2022, but with the signing of this EPC contract a notice to proceed has been issued, meaning that all of the major contracts have been approved and significant construction can begin. A module supply contract and an interconnection agreement with Lumea – an Australian energy and infrastructure services provider – have previously been agreed, as well as ACEN’s commitment to provide AU$800 million (US$552 million) to support the project’s construction.
The development provision for the plant also contains the option to expand to include a 200MWh battery energy storage system.
The Stubbo solar project is located in the Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) in the Mid-Western Regional Council region of New South Wales. In December the Australian government signed a deal to connect New South Wales’ REZs to the national electricity grid with a US$5.2 billion investment.
Sech Zabaleta, chief development officer for ACEN said: “ We are pleased to have reached this next milestone in bringing the Stubbo Solar project to life. It is a critical part of ACEN’s goal of reaching 20GW of renewable energy by 2030, but importantly, Stubbo Solar will contribute to NSW’s energy security and Australia’s transition to a clean energy future.”
The Stubbo project is expected to be operational in 2025. It is the second utility-scale installation under construction from ACEN Australia, the New England Solar project being the first, which is expected to be operational this year. In October 2022, the company received a US$75 million investment from the Australian government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation to build out an 8GW clean energy portfolio.