Stubbo solar/battery storage project gets green light

Weather-monitoring sensors on solar panels (Stubbo)
Image: Stubbo Solar Farm

The New South Wales Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) has approved the development of the 400MW Stubbo Solar Farm and 200MW/200 MWh battery energy storage project near Dubbo, PV Magazine reports.

The solar farm, funded by shareholders of UPC\AC Australia, will include approximately 800,000 single-axis tracking solar modules and a battery energy storage system.

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Upon completion, the Stubbo Solar Farm will annually generate more than 1 million megawatt hours of solar energy—enough to power more than 150,000 homes.

UPC\AC Renewables Australia head of solar development Killian Wentrup said the project would push ahead with its grid-connection application and the appointment of a main EPC contractor.

“We hope to begin construction by early to mid-2022, subject to finalisation of our final contracts and securing finance,” Wentrup said.

“We want to thank the local community for its ongoing feedback, which helped us make changes to the project proposal and to reduce some of the potential impacts. We look forward to continuing that positive relationship over many years to come.”

The project will be developed on a 1,250ha site roughly 115km east of Dubbo, connecting to the National Electricity Market (NEM) via TransGrid’s 330kV Wellington to Wollar TransGrid transmission line.

The DPIE released its final assessment decision earlier this month. It concluded that the project would support the transition of the state’s energy sector to renewable sources and provide stability for the grid.

“It would contribute 400MW of renewable energy to the National Electricity Market, including a battery storage facility with a capacity of 200MW/200MWh,” the department wrote in its report.

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“Importantly, the battery facility would enable the project to store solar energy for dispatch to the grid outside of daylight hours and/or during periods of peak demand, which has the potential to increase grid stability and energy security.”

The site is strategically located within the New South Wales government’s Central West Renewable Zone. It expects this to help unlock 3 GW of renewable energy generation and AUD 4.4 billion ($3.3 billion) in private capital investment by the mid-2020s.

The project is one of several that the joint venture has in its Australian pipeline, including the 720MW New England Solar Farm, the 160MW Axedale Solar Farm in central Victoria, and the fully approved 250MW Baroota Pumped Hydro project in South Australia.