The boom in construction of large-scale renewable power plants in Western Australia continues apace, with Risen Energy announcing on Wednesday that it has begun construction of the 100MW (AC) or 132MW (DC) – Merredin solar farm.
Like the 207MW Collgar wind farm located nearby, the Merredin solar farm will be – at least for a while – the largest of its type in the state. And it will also likely have a battery at a later date added to ensure constant output during peak demand.
Construction of the Merredin solar farm continues a resurgence in the renewables industry in the state after a three-year investment drought engineered by the then conservative government – some 560MW of new wind and solar farms have come on line in the past year, and another 400MW of mostly wind is expected to be completed in the next 12 months.
These include the Merredin solar farm, the Yandin wind farm being built by Alinta north of Perth, the expansion of the Greenough River solar farm, and the Badgingarra and Warradarge wind farms.
Risen Energy says earthworks for the installation of the 360,000 solar panels have begun, and foundations poured for the new substation and control room. High voltage wires to connect the substation to Western Power’s Merredin Terminus have been strung.
Andrew Owen, renewable development manager for Risen Energy in Australia, says the solar farm will located on former farming and grazing country, although he noted that talks were continuing to finalise approvals with the local council.
The solar farm is located near a diesel power station which is receiving capacity payments under the state’s controversial market design, but has never been switched on.
It expects commissioning and production to take place towards the end of the year. Local businesses are benefitting from this work in the area including Merredin Freight Liner, Merredin Concrete and CWC Civil. 22 houses are currently being rented to accommodate the solar farm personnel.
“As owners of the Merredin Solar Farm project, Risen Energy (Australia) will progress the project from detailed engineering design, through construction, commissioning and ultimately the operation of the solar farm.
“We are using our latest PV panel technology to allow it to supply power to the grid. Ultimately, integrated battery storage will be incorporated in the solar farm to provide continuous power during periods of peak demand” said Eric Lee, Risen Energy’s general manager in Australia.
The Merredin solar farm is also located near a 82MW diesel power station which is receiving capacity payments under the state’s controversial market design, but has never been switched on.
Risen Energy is also building the 100MW Yarranlea solar farm south west of Toowoomba in Queensland (pictured above), and aims to have 2GW of solar capacity installed in Australia.