Meadow Creek is a proposed 330MW solar farm that will be located around 27km southeast of Wangaratta, near Myrtleford, in Victoria, Australia.
The site is situated around three hours north of Melbourne. The project is being developed by Meadow Creek Solar along with a local landholder with a team of renewable and environmental specialists.
Once complete, the solar farm will power nearly 110,000 homes with zero-carbon electricity.
The project will also feature a 250MW/500MWh Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) to improve the resiliency and flexibility of power supplies.
The Meadow Creek project is expected to commence operations in 2024.
The proposed Meadow Creek project will occupy an area of around 566ha.
The project site was selected due to its proximity to an existing transmission network. This is expected to reduce infrastructure costs.
The solar farm will feature 2.6m long solar panels that would stand off the ground at an elevated level. The site will also have a substation and a 2km long above-ground transmission connection.
The final concept design of the solar farm will be finalised following preliminary desktop environmental and technical assessments.
Meadow Creek will also conduct detailed environmental assessments including a visual assessment after the project design is further developed.
According to the company, the construction of the farm will involve removing some native vegetation at the site.
A detailed flora and fauna analysis will be conducted to determine the native vegetation impacts and offset requirements, and to identify steps to protect sensitive areas which may be present on site.
The solar farm will be designed to operate for up to 30 years. After decommissioning, the solar panels and relevant infrastructure at the site will be removed.
Besides the solar farm, the site will feature a 250MW/500MWh BESS to store excess energy during low demand in the network.
The energy will be used during emergencies and peak demand periods, and help stabilise the electricity grid.
The short duration storage will serve as a key component for supporting renewable energy supplies amid the adoption of the Australian Energy Market Operator's Integrated System Plan.
As of October 2022, the Meadow Creek Solar Farm completed extensive work on project feasibility and was advancing detailed environmental and technical assessments of the project to support the development application process.
The technical assessments will encompass visual amenity, agriculture and land use, traffic and transport, hydrology, cultural heritage and ecological aspects.
After the completion of environmental assessments, Meadow Creek will prepare a planning application for submission.
The application will be reviewed by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).
A public consultation will also be organised to receive community feedback on the project.
Key contractors involved
A local landholder and a team of renewable and environmental specialists are associated with the development of the Meadow Creek Solar Farm.
Renewable energy business DNV and AusNet Services are also supporting the development.
In October 2022, Switzerland-based grid-scale energy storage system provider Energy Vault received a Notice of Award from Meadow Creek Solar to install the 250 MW/500 MWh BESS at the solar farm.
As part of the award, Energy Vault began advanced grid studies and modelling works with DNV in compliance with Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)-requirements for interconnected power systems.
Energy Vault’s short-duration energy storage (SDES) solution can offer up to four hours of storage capacity. These systems leverage different storage technologies including a lithium-ion based battery energy storage system (BESS).
The company’s BESS proprietary AC block architecture is designed for industrial and utility-scale deployments.