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Carnegie’s EMC wins tender to build solar farm in NSW “coal city”

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Image: Supplied

A 5MW solar farm planned for the site of a former rubbish dump, in the former New South Wales coal hub of Newcastle, will soon be underway, after the job to design and build the council-backed project was awarded to Carnegie Clean Energy.

In a statement on Wednesday, Carnegie said that its wholly owned subsidiary, Energy Made Clean, had won the City of Newcastle’s competitive tender to design, build, operate and maintain the $7 million solar farm.

The solar farm will be built on a closed landfill site at the Summerhill waste management centre, as part a plan to cut council emissions by 30 per cent by 2020, and to help the famous coal port city source 30 per cent of its electricity needs from renewable energy by the same date.

Council first sought expressions of interest for the project in October 2016, and in September last year short-listed eight companies for the job.

The Carnegie subsidiary won the tender as part of its joint venture with Lendlease, which aims to increase its ability to bid for and deliver a broader range of solar, battery and microgrid projects in Australia.

It follows a win in the tender for a renewable-based micro-grid in Kalbarri, a 10MW solar farm in Northam, which has begun construction, and a newly unveiled proposal to build a 100MW solar farm and 20MWh of battery storage near Kalgoorlie.

In a statement on Wednesday, Carnegie managing director, Michael Ottaviano said the company was “delighted” to to have won its first utility-scale solar project in NSW – also its first to be
connected to the east coast grid, the NEM.

“This project brings the value of new contracted work for our joint venture to over $30 million over the past two months,” Dr Ottaviano said.

The companies say the solar farm will be installed as a ground mounted fixed tilt system, using a design optimised to suit the former landfill site, and to allow for future addition of a battery storage system.

Design will begin immediately, Carnegie said, with commissioning expected end of the third quarter of 2018.

For Newcastle, construction of the 5MW solar farm will add to the already established 2.2MW landfill gas generator, as well as a small wind turbine – and paves the way for battery storage and electric garbage trucks.

Last year, council said it expected electricity generated by the solar farm to help offset usage at its other facilities, thus delivering millions of dollars in power cost savings, even with construction and operating costs factored in.

Elsewhere, it has commissioned eight other solar installations – on the rooftops of public buildings including the art gallery, museum, works depot and libraries – in line with its 2020 Carbon and Water Management Action Plan, and the climate action pledges it has made as part of the Cities Power Partnership.

The City is also working to provide bicycling infrastructure and electric-vehicle chargers, and is installing energy-efficient LED lighting.  

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  • Rob

    As a Novacastrian, a supporter of renewable energy and action on climate change, a car owner who wants their next car to be an EV, and a shareholder in Carnegie, this comes as exciting news indeed! Way to go!

  • phillyc

    What a great start Newie!

  • Jon

    Great news, the more of these smaller commercial systems that are installed around the network the more renewable output is protected from localised conditions.