Uni of Sydney selects Spark for Wattle Creek Energy Hub

Sun shines on solar panels with wind turbines in the background (wattle creek)
Image: iStock

Renewable energy developer Spark Renewables has been selected by the University of Sydney (UoS) to investigate and develop a hybrid renewable energy facility on the university’s Arthursleigh property, located in the NSW Southern Tablelands.

The proposed site is situated approximately 12km north-east of Marulan, and approximately two hours’ drive from Sydney. The proposal is strategically positioned to make use of an existing high voltage substation, located adjacent to the property, to deliver clean, renewable energy from the energy hub to the University, local electricity users and the rest of NSW.

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If approved, the Wattle Creek Energy Hub could generate up to 500MW of electricity from the sun and wind, providing enough clean, reliable energy to power around 170,000 households per year while offsetting the emission of around 950,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. The proposal also includes the installation of a large-scale battery with a capacity of up to 500MWh of electricity, which would be dispatched on command to provide a range of network support services.

A key element of the proposed energy hub is a two acre “test-bed facility”, which would enable the University of Sydney to undertake research on new and emerging technologies, including further testing of innovative battery systems developed by Gelion, a company spun out from the university in 2015.

Spark Renewables and the university have also agreed to an ongoing research agreement throughout the life of the energy hub, collaborating on initiatives related to clean energy in the fields of science, engineering, business and economics. The proposed partnership will also include a work experience and placement program for undergraduate and PhD students.

The project design will ensure that the University’s existing commercial research and teaching activities can continue on the Arthursleigh farm, with the wind turbines occupying a small proportion of the 6,200 hectare property and the solar farm designed to allow sheep to graze underneath the solar panels.

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Spark Renewables head Anthony Marriner said, “We are honoured to have been selected by the University of Sydney to investigate and develop the proposed Wattle Creek Energy Hub. We look forward to collaborating with the University.”

Spark Renewables will shortly commence consultation with local community members, Traditional Owners and other interested stakeholders.

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