West Wyalong solar farm gets green light to connect to NSW grid

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ESCO Pacific’s 70MW solar and battery plant in New South Wales Riverina region clears final development hurdle, with go-ahead to connect to NEM.

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Photo by Zbynek Burival on Unsplash
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Plans to build a 70MW solar and battery power station near West Wyalong in the New South Wales Riverina region have cleared the final development hurdle, after getting the go-ahead to connect to the local grid.

Project developer ESCO Pacific said on Monday that the project, which won state government approval in May, had was now committed with the Australian Energy Market Operator, after its offer to connect was accepted by Essential Energy.

The $130 million project is slated to begin construction by the end of the year, or in early 2020, with commissioning due to commence in mid-2020. It is reported to have approval for 25MWh of battery storage, alongside the 70MWp of PV.

The Riverina solar farm adds to an impressive pipeline of renewable energy projects at various stages of development across NSW which, as we reported here, is shaping up to overtake South Australia as Australia’s top renewables generator.

ESCO, meanwhile, has 353MW of large-scale solar assets under management, and another 1GW of renewables under development.

Among them is the 175MW Finley Solar Farm – also in New South Wales but now owned by John Laing – which will help to power BlueScope Steel’s Port Kembla Steelworks, through a 7-year power purchase agreement to take the bulk of the project’s output.

The landmark deal sealed by ESCO and Schneider Electric is expected to supply the equivalent of 20 per cent of BlueScope’s Australian electricity purchases, “significantly” reducing costs and providing price certainty.

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