Oil giant venture forges ahead with another big solar and battery project in NSW

Oil giant venture forges ahead with another big solar and battery project in NSW

The solar arm of global oil giant BP is cementing its position as one of the largest utility-scale PV project developers in Australia as it moves ahead with plans to build a 550MW solar farm with a 260MW/520MWh large battery in the Upper Hunter region of New South Wales.

The Goulburn River Solar Farm is proposed for construction by Lightsource bp on private farmland south of the town of Merriwa, and will be designed to accommodate continued sheep grazing between the panels.

Lightsource – BP’s joint venture with UK solar company Lightsource – expects to submit formal planning applications for the project later this year after preliminary assessments, site design and community consultation have been completed.

The Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) reference for the project was opened for public comment earlier this month.

According to project documents, the solar farm will consist of about 950,000 two-level solar modules in an east-west single-axis tracking arrangement that sits about 5 meters above ground level to make room for the sheep.

The proposed battery energy storage system with approximately two hours of storage duration would be housed in a series of outdoor containers that could be spread across the site or aggregated in one central location, according to Lightsource.

The solar farm is one of five projects the global renewables JV is developing in New South Wales, including the 400MW Gundary solar farm and large battery in the state’s Southern Tablelands region.

Three more solar projects are in various stages of the planning and development pipeline in Victoria, while the 214MW Woolooga Solar Farm in Queensland is nearing completion.

In August, Lightsource bp announced financial closure of its Wellington North and Wunghnu solar projects – in Victoria and NSW respectively – through offtake deals with mining and infrastructure giant Orica and candy giant Mars Australia.

At the time, the company said it was on track to become the largest solar developer and owner in Australia.

“We have been able to deliver our projects managing major disruptions including commodity price increases, rising costs, supply chain disruptions and COVID-19,” Lightsource bp Australia and NZ managing director Adam Pegg said at the time.

“The outlook for solar in Australia and the region is incredibly strong, with increasing political support, greater investor certainty and capital looking to participate in the sector.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *