The newly renewables focused state of New South Wales has waved through another large-scale solar project, with the approval of the 125MW (AC) Maryvale solar farm.
The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment says it has given approval for the $188 million project, for development near Wellington, in the state’s Central-West Renewable Energy Zone.
“This state significant project has been assessed on its merits and the Department is confident it will have real benefits for the local community and NSW,” said the department’s executive director of energy and resource assessments, Mike Young, in a statement.
“The Department considered all potential impacts of the project and found it will have minimal impact on the surrounding natural environment and agricultural land.”
Maryvale solar farm is part of suite of five NSW solar projects – at the time with a total capacity of more than 1GW – being co-developed by Netherlands-based Photon and Canadian Solar.
The projects include the 316MW facility proposed near the town of Gunning, and four other projects at Gunnedah (165MW); Suntop (170MW) and Maryvale, both near Wellington; and Mumbil, near Dubbo (178MW).
All are located in the new renewable energy zone announced recently by the NSW energy minister Matt Kean, which aims to facilitate 3,000MW of wind and solar to the market and help replace the state’s ageing coal generators.
As reported here, the deal was for Photon to effectively sell half of its interest in the solar plants to Canadian Solar, which would hold 51 per cent in all projects, while Photon held the balance of the equity in Gunning and shared the balance of equity with Polpo Investments in the other four projects.
At the time of the JV announcement, Canadian Solar executives described NSW as the “sleeper” state in Australia’s large scale solar market.
According to the project fact sheet, Maryvale will be sited approximately 15km north-west of Wellington on 150 hectares of farm-land that will continue to be used for livestock grazing in conjunction with its new function as a solar farm.
A 132 KV TransGrid powerline already running through the property will allow connection to the existing grid, with a new substation to be added.
“Maryvale solar farm … will add to the growing hub of solar energy projects in the Dubbo area, bringing a fresh boost to the economy, diversifying industry for the region, as well as increasing electricity capacity,” the Department of Planning’s Young said.
“In NSW the solar industry is continuing to be a vital part of our energy mix as we transition to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future.”
Young says the project is expected to support up to 150 local jobs over the 12-month construction period.
The nearby town of Wellington is also the site of the first major project for India-based solar contracting giant Sterling and Wilson Solar – the 200MW Wellington solar farm – on which construction started this week.