Lightsource bp, the joint venture that carries much of the global oil giant’s rapidly expanding solar footprint, says it plans to create a 600MW solar hub in New South Wales that would be the biggest in the state and one of the biggest in the country.
Ligtsource bp announced on Thursday that it had received approval from the NSW department of planning for the 400MW (dc) Wellington North solar farm, which will be located next to the nearly complete 200MW Wellington solar farm.
The 50-50 joint venture between the UK-based Lightsource and bp, one of the world’s biggest oil companies, bought the Wellington North project from AGL last year, and is one of four solar projects that it intends to complete or develop in the next few years.
The company also owns West Wyalong solar project in NSW, which recently signed an off take agreement with Snowy Hydro under a deal to deliver carbon free power to its petrol station retail outlets, and the Woolooga solar project in Queensland.
Together, the projects amount to more than 900MW (dc) which will position the company as one of the leading solar project owners in the country.
“This is an important step forward in our ambition to help Australia transition to a lower carbon future,” said Adam Pegg, the country manager for Lightsource bp in Australia said.
“In a few years our 600MW (dc) Wellington solar hub will be producing 1,173,000MWh of renewable electricity – the equivalent to powering 170,000 Australian homes – saving 938,000 carbon emissions annually.”
Frédéric Baudry, the president of bp Australia said the project was part of the company’s transition from an international oil company to an integrated energy company. “We are proud to be progressing strong positions in renewables and contributing to Australia’s, and bp’s, net zero by 2050 ambitions.”
Lightsource bp said the Wellington North solar farm will use 1.2 million bifacial solar panels and create 400 local employment opportunities during construction.
The company says it has designed the project to “protect and enhance” 163 ha of native vegetation and fauna habitat on the project site, including 232 hollow-bearing trees, and will also preserve Aboriginal heritage items following consultation with Aboriginal stakeholders. These included two scarred trees.