New Energy eyes bigger battery for Wallaroo

Aerial render of the proposed Wallaroo Solar Farm

Univergy Solar and its Australian partner New Energy say a 75MW/150MWh battery energy storage system is likely to be coupled with the proposed 100MW Wallaroo Solar Farm, according to PV Magazine.

Wallaroo Solar Farm will comprise 260,000 panels, an onsite substation and a battery storage system. The panels will be positioned on single axis tracking structures and the developers expect the facility will generate about 260,000MWh of solar energy annually.

The $170 million project, to be built on the border of NSW and the ACT, also includes a 10MW/20MWh battery energy storage system (BESS), however, New Energy project developer Dan Flynn told PV Magazine there was scope to expand that to 75MW/150MWh.

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“It’s a huge consideration at the moment,” he said.

“It’s very likely with the changes in the energy market that Wallaroo could and likely will evolve and we’ve designed it in a way that we can actually do that.”

While a final decision is yet to be made regarding the battery’s storage capacity, the project recently received approval from the federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE).

The project was referred to the department earlier this year due to the site being a known habitat of two endangered lizard species. The department has since decided the project can go ahead.

“It was concluded that a significant impact on both of these threatened species was very unlikely,” the department said.

“As such, the proposal is considered unlikely to affect the matters of national environmental significance.”

The project will connect to the National Electricity Market (NEM) via TransGrid’s existing 132kV transmission line that connects to the nearby Canberra Substation.

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“It’s a really strong part of the grid being so close to Canberra’s main substation and to the load centre,” Flynn said.

“We’re just working through completing all the appropriate studies now and making sure we tick all the boxes.

“We’re concurrently working on all the development approvals and the connection approvals, and we see those being completed around Q1 2022.”

Construction is expected to commence mid-2022 and will take an estimate 18 months to complete.