Renewable energy hub for northern NSW

The New England region of NSW is fast becoming the renewable energy hub of Australia with White Rock Solar Farm, near Glen Innes, due to be operational in 2018.

The $41 million windfarm, developed by Goldwind Australia, is a 20MW Solar Photovoltaic (PV) development and complements Goldwind’s White Rock Wind Farm, which is expected to be operating late this year.

White Rock Solar Farm will benefit from sharing part of the wind farm infrastructure, including the grid connection, substation access tracks and some internal 33 kV underground electrical cabling. The opportunity to share wind farm infrastructure maximises the use of available facilities without requiring construction of additional facilities elsewhere. The end result will be a hybrid solar/wind facility.

Both projects were listed on ICN Gateway, with $15 million of the wind farm packages going to local suppliers. Expressions of interest for the solar farm closed recently, attracting submissions from about 120 local businesses.

‘Goldwind is committed to facilitating local sourcing for the projects where feasible and recognised ICN Gateway as a key tool to identifying capacity in the local community and maximising opportunities for local suppliers,’ ICN Consultant Dusko Bajic said.

‘Forty local suppliers attended an Industry Briefing in Glen Innes in June, and heard information about the available work packages and the process of bidding for subcontracting or supply opportunities with the major subcontractors.

‘A database of all suppliers that have registered against work packages for the solar farm through the projects ICN Gateway was supplied to engineering, procurement and construction contractor UGL for consideration.’

Not far from the White Rock Wind and Solar Farms, CWP Renewables’ Sapphire Wind farm is set to be the largest in the country, generating enough clean energy to power around 115,000 homes and displace 700,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. This project also used ICN Gateway to source local suppliers, resulting in $5 million in work packages during the enabling phase being awarded to New England SMEs. Construction of the Sapphire Windfarm has begun and will result in more work packages and services awarded to local businesses.

For more information on the solar farm, go to ICN Gateway.