EIS Exhibition Period Begins For NSW Large-Scale Solar Power Projects

NSW solar farms

Image: Overland Sun Farming

The Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) have gone on display for two large scale solar farm developments in New South Wales – Orange Grove Solar and Suntop Solar Farm.

Orange Grove Solar

Overland Sun Farming Pty Ltd is proposing a 110MW facility to be constructed around 12km east of Gunnedah, in the state’s north-east. Consisting of approximately 330,000 solar panels, the project also incorporates land area within the development footprint (253 ha) for possible future energy storage, but capacity has not been determined at this stage of the project’s development

Orange Grove Solar will connect to the TransGrid 132 kV electricity distribution network to the east of TransGrid’s Gunnedah Substation

If the project proceeds, it will create an average of 80 full-time equivalent jobs during the construction period and three during operations.

The EIS for Orange Grove Solar can be viewed here (PDF) and its project web site here. The EIS exhibition period ends on July 6, 2018.

Suntop Solar Farm

A Photon Energy project, Suntop solar farm is a 170MW AC (200 MW DC) facility1  proposed for a site located approximately 10km west of the Central West township of Wellington. The solar farm will cover an area of 472 hectares and it’s estimated it will consist of up to 550,000 solar panels installed on single axis tracking systems.

Suntop’s construction would see up to 250 construction jobs generated during peak construction periods and will support six to ten operational jobs during the expected 30 year life of the solar farm.

The EIS for Suntop Solar Farm can be viewed here (PDF) and its project web site here. The EIS exhibition period ends on July 5, 2018.

Another further advanced project for the area is Wellington Solar Farm, which received approval to proceed late last month. The 178MW facility will be comprised of 440,000 solar panels, 50 inverter stations and a 25MW/100MWh lithium-ion battery-based energy storage system.

All large-scale solar projects in New South Wales must receive approval from the Department of Planning & Environment instead of via local authorities as they are considered State Significant Developments (SSDs).

The Department’s site shows a long list of solar farms in the pipeline for the state. New South Wales could certainly use the extra generation, as demonstrated after last week’s coal fail – but also of growing importance will be renewables projects that incorporate energy storage.

Footnotes

  1. Photon’s Suntop site has it as being 286 MWp
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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