Oil giant BP's first solar farm in Australia powers up in western NSW | RenewEconomy

Oil giant BP’s first solar farm in Australia powers up in western NSW

The 200MW Wellington solar farm in central NSW has started sending small amounts of power to the grid.

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The 200MW Wellington solar farm in central New South Wales has started sending small amounts of power to the grid, after becoming the latest in a spate of projects in that state to be formally registered, and the first of oil giant BPs portfolio of solar projects to begin operating in Australia.

As you can see in the chart below from Global Roam’s Paul McArdle, the massive PV project – one of the biggest in the state – started registering on the National Electricity Market over the weekend, following last week’s appearance of the Sunraysia solar farm, the Molong solar farm (39MW) and the Collector wind farm (227MW), all in NSW.

Wellington, which is owned by Lightsource BP – a joint venture of the UK-based solar developer and oil giant BP, is the first renewable energy project in Australia for the oil giant, and one of eight wind and solar projects to land a long term contract with Snowy Hydro last year.

It is also the first large scale to be built by India-based global contractor Sterling & Wilson, which delivered it slightly ahead of a December 2020 target.

Sterling & Wilson took over the job for Lightsource after the original contractor for the project, R&L Solar Constructions, was placed in voluntary administration in August.

As RenewEconomy reported at the time, R&L, a subsidiary of a Japanese company, marked the latest in a string of failures that had seen the country’s biggest solar EPC contractor RCR Tomlinson collapse, and many others such as Downer withdraw completely or partially from the industry due to fierce competition, cost over-runs, and disputes over damages due to delays and complications from new connection rules.

The quartet of new projects to connect to the NSW grid is expected to be followed by a bit of a gap until the next one, as New South Wales gears up to start delivering a nation-leading 12GW renewables rollout under a new roadmap unveiled by the Berejiklian government last week.

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