Plans to build a 720MW solar farm and a very big battery of around 400MWh in the New South Wales New England region have cleared another major hurdle, after locking in a grid connection agreement with network provider Transgrid.
Developer UPC\AC Renewables Australia said on Thursday that it had signed an agreement with Transgrid for connection to the 330kV transmission line from Tamworth to Armidale in northeast NSW and delivery of connection services over the life of the massive solar and storage project.
Early construction works are now set to begin soon on the $768-million project near the town of Uralla, which received the final green light from the state’s Independent Planning Commission in March of this year.
The IPC approved the solar farm with some conditions, having been asked to review the state significant development (SSD) application after 67 public objections were received during exhibition.
The IPC said at the time that the objections to the huge project – which will span 3362 hectares of agricultural land, just east of Uralla – centred on the compatibility of the proposed land use, visual amenity, transport and traffic management, and decommissioning and rehabilitation.
“This is an exciting development to finalise the connection agreement for one of the largest solar farms in the national electricity market,” said UPC\AC CEO Anton Rohner in a statement on Thursday.
“This was one of the last pieces of the development puzzle and we will now look to commencing construction activities shortly,” he said.
“This is the culmination of three years of hard work by our team and excellent engagement with the local community.
“The end result will be a solar farm development that adds significant value to the local community over the long term through investment and jobs. I thank the Uralla community for supporting the project.”
The project is expected to create up to 700 full-time jobs during construction – which will be done in two stages and over the course of around three years – and once completed, to generate enough renewable energy to power 250,000 homes.
UPC\AC Renewables has also created a community fund that will start with $100,000 dollars in the first year of construction and ramp up to $180,000 per annum when the project is fully commissioned.