Construction is already underway on the Dubbo Solar Hub in NSW’s Central West region after the Government signed a decade-plus contract with Neoen Australia at the end of 2017. The project signals the NSW Government’s commitment to large-scale renewable energy procurement and joins a number of other large-scale renewable energy projects across the state.
The Hub will consist of approximately 90,000 solar panels installed on 55 hectares of land to the east of Dubbo, and 30ha of land to the north of Narromine in New South Wales, and is expected to continue operation for 30 years.
It will generate enough clean energy to power around 10,000 homes a year, put downward pressure on electricity prices and further improve NSW’s energy security as well as create employment opportunities. The Dubbo Solar Hub which spans two farms at Narromine and South Keswick has progressed with construction rapidly and is due to be completed later this year. It will create around 175 jobs during construction.
“This deal will support jobs in regional NSW, boost our energy security and help the State Government meet our obligations under the Renewable Energy Target as a large energy user,” NSW Minister for Energy and Utilities Don Harwin said. “This lays the foundation for more renewable energy procurement, which will deliver more power supply for the state and put more downward pressure on prices.”
There are 11 renewable energy projects totalling 1,080 megawatts set to be completed this year in NSW. Four projects are expected to commence construction later this year which will provide an additional 560 megawatts of capacity. Among the projects set for completion in 2018, six are solar farms, and five are wind farms, including the state’s largest in the 270-megawatt Sapphire Wind Farm near Inverell.
The Chief Executive of the Smart Energy Council John Grimes believes the Dubbo Solar Hub deal is an excellent result for renewable energy in NSW.
“The NSW coalition has been much more progressive than their Federal Government counterparts. However, there are not many policies beyond the RET to support renewables,” said Grimes.
The Renewable Energy Target (RET) will conclude in 2020. Solar will play a critical role in NSW’s energy future with the State Government focussing on developing a robust pipeline of projects. It has already supported the first two large solar farms at Broken Hill and Nyngan, expediting cost savings for the sector.
“NSW is experiencing a renewable energy boom, and we are proud to be leading Australia in the development of large-scale solar projects.”
“NSW is experiencing a renewable energy boom, and we are proud to be leading Australia in the development of large-scale solar projects,” said Minister Harwin.
“I welcome the ongoing investment in NSW. This is playing an important role in our energy security and regional development. Thanks to companies like NEOEN the next wave of innovative renewable energy projects is being built in NSW, helping bring down power prices and providing jobs in regional communities,” he continued
The largest solar farm already online in Australia is the Nyngan Solar Plant (102 MW) which will generate approximately 233,000-megawatt hours (MWh) of clean, renewable electricity each year. On an annual basis, it will produce enough electricity to power about 39,000 average Australian homes and will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by over 195,720 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per annum. This is roughly equivalent to removing 53,000 cars from the road.
The Dubbo Solar Hub will provide around 15% of the NSW Government’s obligations under the Renewable Energy Target with much more substantial projects already underway or about to commence in NSW – at Colleambally (150MW) and Sunraysia (200MW).
“ARENA’s funding for projects like this one and others in Glen Innes, Griffith, Parkes and Manildra highlight the growing importance of the NSW solar industry’s role in ensuring we have secure, sustainable and affordable energy,” Minister Harwin said.
ARENA is the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, a federal government-funded agency tasked with accelerating Australia’s shift to an affordable and reliable renewable energy future. Projects already supported by AREN have attracted more than $1 billion in funding, with $3.5 billion more worth of projects in the pipeline.
The largest solar project in the Southern Hemisphere is expected to commence construction at Balranald, in the state’s Riverina region early next year.