Australia’s largest solar-plus-storage project edges forward as Elecnor wins EPC contract

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
Image: TransGrid.

Spanish renewable energy company Elecnor has been appointed as the lead contractor for the first phase of Australia’s largest hybrid solar and battery energy storage facility.

The 720MW New England Solar Farm is being developed by UPC\AC Australia – a joint venture between UPC Renewables and AC Energy, a subsidiary of the Philippines' Ayala Corporation – across two sections of land in New South Wales (NSW).

The first 400MW phase of the solar park will be installed by Elecnor’s Australian subsidiary on the northern section of the site, while the initial stage of the associated 400MWh battery project, a 50MW / 50MWh storage system, will be constructed with the support of the NSW government.

Featuring single-axis tracking technology, New England Solar will be designed to allow adequate space for sheep to continue grazing on the land in between and underneath panels. The first stage is expected to be completed in the next two years.

Alongside its engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) role, Elecnor, which has participated in the construction of four solar plants in Australia to date, including the 137MW Bungala Two park, will carry out operation and maintenance for two years after commissioning.

UPC\AC Renewables CEO Anton Rohner said the Elecnor deal represents a “major milestone” for the project, the local community and the transition of Australia’s energy system. “Not only are we providing clean energy to the grid, with the support of the NSW government we are providing dispatchable energy in the form of a 50MWh battery. It will provide much-needed jobs and an injection of capital into the New England region.”

Despite the development initially receiving 67 public objections, the New England Solar Farm received consent from the NSW Independent Planning Commission in March. Public concerns were centred around the compatibility of the proposed land use, the project's visual impacts, traffic management, effects on livestock and the eventual decommissioning of the project.

Rohner said this week that an upgrade to local roads connecting to the solar farm has progressed and environmental management plans have been completed.

Meanwhile, a grid connection agreement with TransGrid, the owner and operator of the NSW electricity transmission network, was signed in June, allowing the project to connect to the existing 330kV line that crosses the site.

The New England area will also be the location of a new 8GW renewable energy zone (REZ) that the NSW government says will play a key role in the state’s energy transition efforts in the coming decades. The development is NSW’s second of three REZs, with the first – located in the Central-West and Orana regions – receiving a nine-fold oversubscription of registrations of interest looking to connect to the 3GW zone.

Read Next

September 21, 2021
Private equity firm American Securities has secured a deal to acquire US solar engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) provider Swinerton Renewable Energy and its operations and maintenance (O&M) subsidiary SOLV from Swinerton Incorporated.
September 20, 2021
Australian companies plan to spend AUS$5.1 billion (US$3.7 billion) on offshore gas exploration over the next six years, which is enough to develop 2.5GW of renewables capacity and generate close to 5,000 jobs
September 20, 2021
Mining company Rio Tinto has revealed plans for a new solar project and battery energy storage system that will help to decarbonise an off-grid mine in the Australian state of Queensland.
September 16, 2021
Renewables developer Amp Energy has secured financing for a 120MW solar installation in the Australian state of New South Wales that is expected to begin energisation in early 2022.
September 16, 2021
Australia’s government has committed AU$19.2 million (US$14 million) to implement the recommendations of a new report that that aims to improve regulation and compliance in the country’s rooftop solar sector.
September 13, 2021
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will support projects that further lower the cost of renewable generation as part of a new investment strategy aimed at underpinning the transition to net zero emissions.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
October 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 19, 2021
Solar Media Events
December 1, 2021