Bulli Creek Solar Farm and Energy Storage will be located in Queensland, Australia. (Credit: © Solar Choice Pty Ltd)
The indicative footprint of the Bulli Creek Solar Farm. (Credit: © Solar Choice Pty Ltd)
Solar Choice is associated with the project as a co-developer. (Credit: Kev from Pixabay)

Bulli Creek Clean Energy Project is a solar farm and energy storage project planned to be developed in Queensland, Australia.

The multi-stage development project is envisaged to have a capacity of up to 2,000MW.

The first stage of the project will involve building solar development with a minimum capacity of 450MW. This will be followed by the development of a battery energy storage system (BESS) stage of up to 400MW.

Subsequent potential solar and BESS developments will increase the project’s capacity to the full 2GW.

The final investment decision (FID) for the first stage of project is targeted in the second half of 2024, with first energy production is estimated to commence in 2026.

The BCP is being developed by Australian electricity generation company Genex Power in partnership with Japan-headquartered Electric Power Development (J-POWER).

Solar Choice is associated with the project as a co-developer.

Bulli Creek Clean Energy Project Location

The Bulli Creek Clean Energy Project will be developed in a 5,000-hectare area in Queensland, Australia, approximately 140km southwest of Toowoomba and 35km west of Millmerran.

The location is around 4km from the Powerlink Queensland Bulli Creek 330kV substation, the connection point for the Queensland-NSW Interconnector.

The surrounding land is primarily used for agricultural purposes including cattle grazing.

Background and Ownership Details

The Bulli Creek Solar Farm was conceived in 2013 and it received planning approval from the Toowoomba Regional Council for a total footprint of up to 2GW in 2015.

The project has already received development planning approval, Environmental Protection Biodiversity and Conservation Approval and Aboriginal Cultural Heritage clearances over the entirety of the project site.

Solar Choice had 25% stake in the project entity when it was established in 2015, and it acquired the remaining 75% stake in the solar farm and energy storage project in June 2021.

In August 2022, Genex Power entered into the transaction documents with Solar Choice to fully acquire the development rights for the project.

In June 2023, J-POWER signed a joint development agreement with Genex to acquire 50% interest in Bulli Creek. Additionally, J-POWER signed an agreement to provide Genex with a corporate loan facility of approximately A$35m ($23m).

Bulli Creek Clean Energy Project Infrastructure

According to the Town Planning Report, the Bulli Creek Solar Farm will include an array of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, arranged in a grid pattern with approximately 10m spacing between each row and 5m above the ground.

The PV modules will be supported by a steel and/or aluminium mounting structure including framing, pylons and foundations.

The solar array will also feature a series of inverters and kiosk transformers, while the PV arrays, associated monitoring and protection equipment and central inverters will be connected via an underground or frame secured cabling network.

Network interconnection facilities will be connected to the project to either or both of the 330kV and 132kV distribution systems via an overhead feeder line to the Bulli Creek substation or a new terminal on site.

The initial capacity of solar farm will be 450MW, which can be increased up to 775MW in future.

The battery project will have a capacity of up to 400MW/1,600MWh, making it one of the largest BESS facilities in the National Electricity Market (NEM).

The BESS will be connected to the Powerlink 330kV substation in the same location of the connection point for the Queensland-NSW Interconnector.

Offtake Agreement

In October 2023, Genex’s wholly-owned subsidiary entered into a 25-year solar power purchase agreement (PPA) with a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fortescue Metals Group for the Bulli Creek Solar and Battery Project.

Fortescue plans to utilise the solar energy procured under the PPA to power its green hydrogen and green ammonia facility in connection with its Gibson Island project.

The agreement will enable offtake of up to 337.5MW of solar energy and large-scale generation certificates from the BCS at a fixed nominal price over the 25-year period.

Contractors Involved

Australia-based environmental consulting company Green Tape Solutions was engaged to review and finalise the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) self-assessment to evaluate the potential impacts of the project on ecological communities and listed threatened flora and fauna species.

In July 2017, geotechnical services provider RMA Soils completed a geotechnical investigation for the construction of a solar farm at Bulli Creek.