The grid connection agreement for the New England Solar Farm has been completed with Transgrid, the operator of the electricity transmission network in NSW.
The agreement is an important step that will allow the 720 MW solar farm to connect and supply power into the NSW electricity grid and traded in the National Electricity Market.
Design work on the transmission substation to be constructed as part of the approved development will begin soon, allowing the project to connect to the existing 330kV powerlines that cross the solar farm site.
The New England Solar Farm will be built across two solar fields about six kilometres east of Uralla. Depending on the final installed capacity, the solar farm will produce around 1,800,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of clean electricity each year – enough to power more than 250,000 typical NSW homes.
We are also proposing to install a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) capable of dispatching energy to the grid at times of high energy demand. Under the proposal, the BESS would be constructed in stages, starting with a 50MWh system up to a maximum size of 400MWh.
The solar farm project will be constructed in stages over 36 months. It will generate up to 500 jobs during peak construction and up to an additional 200 jobs if the battery system is installed. It will also generate 10-15 ongoing jobs.
The project received approval from the NSW Independent Planning Commission in March 2020. Work has been continuing to complete the required management plans, project finance and the appointment of the main construction contractor.
We plan to start work on the road upgrades for the project later this year, with the upgrades to be completed prior to work starting on the solar farm site.