The scoping report has been submitted for a proposed major solar energy facility in New South Wales’ Mid-Western Regional Council local government area.
The Stubbo Solar Farm project is a 400-megawatt facility to be situated 10 kilometres north town of Gulgong in New South Wales. Developer UPC\AC Renewables Australia says the solar power station will generate electricity equivalent to that consumed by 150,000 typical NSW homes and will avoid 600,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. Battery storage is also being considered for the facility, but no word yet as to what sort of capacity or technology that may involve.
Stubbo is in the early stage of planning and will be assessed as a State Significant Development (SSD) by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) instead of Mid-Western Regional Council. However, Council will still have its say. A project is deemed an SSD based on its size, economic value or potential impacts.
On Monday, UPC\AC Renewables announced a scoping report for the Stubbo Solar Farm project has been submitted to DPIE, the first step in the approvals process.
The proposed site has traditionally been used for sheep grazing and it’s expected this activity will be able to continue once the project is operational. The solar panels will be installed at a height and spacing to allow for sheep to graze in and around the rows of modules.
The site is in the centre of the Central West Renewable Energy Zone (REZ). An REZ involves coordinated development of new grid infrastructure in areas with significant renewable resources, to connect multiple projects in the same general location.
The NSW Government says the Central West REZ has the potential to unlock up to 3,000 megawatts of new generation by the middle of this decade and be worth approximately $4.4 billion in private sector investment once fully developed. Around 4,500 megawatts of projects are either approved or in the planning system for the Central West REZ.
The Stubbo Solar Farm project is expected to generate approximately 400 jobs over its two year construction period, and up to 10 ongoing positions once complete. Local businesses and workers will be prioritised for the project, and a community benefit sharing program is to be developed.
UPC\AC Renewables is keen to get community feedback on the project, a process made a little more challenging given the current pandemic situation; so it will be planning a number of activities in place of this face to face contact.
“We want to make sure that we can provide the right mix of activities so people from the local community have the chance to get involved,” states the company.
UPC-AC Renewables is a joint venture company between AC Energy (through AC Renewables International Pte. Ltd.), and UPC Renewables.