A Big Week For Big Solar In Australia

Large-scale solar energy in Australia

A lot has been happening on the large-scale solar energy front in Australia in the past week – here’s a roundup of some of the notable events.

NT – Government Backs Huge Solar + Storage Project

The Northern Territory Government has granted Major Project status to Sun Cable’s proposed Australia-Singapore Power Link (ASPL). The $20 billion venture involves a 10 gigawatt solar farm with 20-30 gigawatt hours of battery storage to be built near Tennant Creek. It’s intended the energy generated by the facility will supply Darwin and Singapore; the latter via a  3,800 kilometre high voltage direct current (HVDC) cable.

“The Northern Territory has an incredible opportunity to lead the world as a renewable energy hub – and seizing this opportunity will deliver thousands of local jobs,” said NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner on Saturday. “Major Project Status for Sun Cable is an important step towards making this this vision a reality.”

NT – Katherine Solar Farm Construction Commences

Eni Australia has commenced construction of a $40 million PV project near Katherine in the Northern Territory. The 25MW facility is expected to be completed later this year and will also incorporate a 5.7 MVA/2.9MWh battery storage facility. Katherine Solar Farm project was previously owned by Epuron, who will have a role in managing the facility once it is operational.

NSW – FRV Secures Financing For Goonumbla

Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) has secured financing for the 67.8 MW (AC) Goonumbla Solar Farm, which is to be constructed approximately 10km west of Parkes in New South Wales. Up to 150 jobs are expected to be created during the construction phase and the facility should start operations in 2020.

SA – Port Pirie Solar Project Approved

EPS Energy announced last week its $650 million Bungama Solar project had been approved. The project incorporates a 280 MW (AC) PV power station and a 140MW/560MWh battery storage facility. The project area is situated approximately 6 kilometres east of Port Pirie in South Australia.

In addition to the 275 jobs created during the construction phase and 8 full time positions during its 30-year operation that will contribute to the local economy, a local community fund has been proposed; which will provide an annual financial contribution for the life of the project.

SA – Solar River Secures PPA

The developers of a 200MW PV project near Robertstown in South Australia, Solar River, have inked a  power purchase agreement with Alinta Energy reported RenewEconomy last week.

SA – All Systems Go For Mobilong

Director of Terregra Renewables, Graham Pearson, announced Mobilong Solar Farm was to commence full operations last week. The 5MW facility is located near Murray Bridge.

VIC – Numurkah Solar Farm Fully Operational

Neoen’s 128 megawatt (MW) Numurkah Solar Farm, which is one of two PV plants supplying renewable energy to offset electricity used by Melbourne’s tram network, is now fully operational. The facility is currently Victoria’s largest operational solar power station.

“The Numurkah Solar Farm will play an important role in supporting the transformation of our energy system towards clean, renewable energy and reaching our renewable energy target of 50 per cent by 2030,” said Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio.

(Great news Minister, but don’t forget about the escalating crisis in Victoria’s residential solar sector).

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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