Major solar-plus-storage project greenlit in New South Wales

Wentworth Falls, Blue Mountains, New South Wales. Source: Robert Lindsell, Flickr

After a long wait, RES has received state development approval for a major 200MW/10MW solar-plus-storage facility in New South Wales.

The state government approved the Avonlie solar farm on August 8, citing the project’s positive economics, which includes 200 local jobs and a capital investment of AU$250 million (US$170 million). The approvals process dates from when RES submitted its initial environmental assessment, in late 2017.

The British developer has billed the Avonlie solar project's proposed 10MW/10MWh lithium-ion battery storage facility as “one of the largest battery facilities in the world.” The farm will comprise 670,000 solar panels over an 802-hectare site and take advantage of its proximity to two electricity transmission lines.

RES will contribute AUS$250,000 (US$170,000) to local projects and community groups and organisations.

The firm estimates the farm will take 18 months to build and will be operational for 30 years. Spanish engineering firm Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy has been contracted for the farm’s early works phase.

RES’ other assets in NSW include the 100MW Tarleigh Park farm and the Curra Warra farm, which will total 429MW once the second stage of construction is completed.

NSW is home to some of Australia's biggest commissioned and pipeline solar projects. According to statistics collated by independent climate change communications body the Climate Council, it has the second most wind and solar capacity developed of any Australian state at 1.76GW – trailing closely behind its western neighbour South Australia, which boasts 1.83GW.

Earlier this week in NSW, mining manufacturer Molycop landed a 10-year solar-wind power purchase agreement (PPA) to buy power from the 120MW Bomen Solar Farm for its regional operations.

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