Neoen connects 460 MW solar farm to grid in Australia


From pv magazine Australia

Queensland’s largest solar farm, which forms part of Neoen’s Western Downs Green Power Hub and 200 MW/400 MWh big battery, has reached a significant milestone by finalizing its connection to Powerlink’s transmission network.

Neoen Australia Managing Director Louis de Sambucy said the completion of connection works marked an “important project milestone.” The solar farm is expected to commence operations in 2022.

“The team remains mobilised towards finalising construction over coming months and we’re looking forward to delivering affordable renewable energy to CleanCo and Queensland,” he said.

The 460 MWp solar farm, being developed on a 1,500-hectare site in Queensland’s Western Downs region, will generate 400 MW of solar energy, producing more than 1,080 GWh of renewable energy per year.

Powerlink CEO Paul Simshauser said grid connection works involved building new transmission lines and associated infrastructure at the network operator’s existing Western Downs Substation.

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“This newly-built transmission line feeds into Neoen’s Hopeland Substation, which has also now been energized to help transport the renewable energy generated at the solar farm to the National Electricity Market (NEM),” he said. “We look forward to working with Neoen to undertake final testing and commissioning in coming months as solar farm development continues to progress.”

The massive Western Downs Green Power Hub has the backing of state government-owned renewable energy generator CleanCo, which has committed to purchasing 320 MW of the solar power produced. CleanCo Queensland Chair Jacqui Walters said the hub would add significant renewable energy capacity for Queensland, generating enough energy to power 235,000 homes while avoiding 864,000 tons of CO2 emissions.

“The 320 MW of solar energy we’ve secured from this project joins CleanCo’s unique portfolio of wind, hydro and gas generation and enables us to offer reliable, low-emissions energy at a competitive price for our customers,” she said. “We have a mandate to bring 1,400 MW of new renewable energy online by 2025 and through projects like the Western Downs Green Power Hub we will do this while supporting growth and jobs in regional Queensland.”

Queensland Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said the solar farm, which had sparked more than 450 construction jobs, is “further proof of Queensland’s credentials as a renewables and hydrogen superpower.” The project is part of Neoen’s ambitions plans to have more than 10 GW of capacity in operation or under construction by 2025.

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