Stubbo Solar is a 400MW solar farm being developed in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW). The project also includes a 200MWh battery storage system.
The project was initially proposed by UPC\AC Renewables, a joint venture of renewable energy development company UPC and Ayala’s energy platform AC Energy.
In 2021, ACEN began a transaction to eventually acquire 100% of UPC\AC Renewables by early 2023. Following the transaction, the company will be known as ACEN Australia.
The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment approved the Stubbo Solar and Battery Project in July 2021.
On 7 November 2022, ACEN Australia made the final investment decision (FID) to proceed with the development of the renewable project.
ACEN Australia’s parent company ACEN Corporation has committed A$800m ($538.12m) to fund the construction of the solar project.
The construction of the project is slated to commence in late 2022, and is expected to be completed over a two-year period in 2024.
The project will be situated in the locality of Stubbo around 10km north of Gulgong in the Mid-Western Regional Local Council Local Government Area (LGA).
The site is around 115km east of Dubbo in the centre of the NSW Government’s Central West Orana Renewable Energy Zone between Blue Springs Road and Barneys Reef Road.
The Stubbo Solar Farm is expected to occupy a 1,250-hectare area of flat, predominantly cleared agricultural land that is primarily used for livestock grazing and intermittent cropping.
The 400 MW solar project was assessed as a State Significant Development under Part 4 of theNSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.
The scoping report for the Stubbo project was submitted to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE), which issued the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs).
The EIS was submitted in 2020 and following public consultation the department announced its final assessment decision and approved the project in June 2021.
The Stubbo Solar project complies with the Federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act).
Stubbo solar project will feature ground-mounted solar (PV) modules made up of silicon-based solar cells.
The solar panels will be installed in a series of rows maintaining a space of 5m to 12m between the modules.
The Direct Current (DC) energy generated from the solar cells is converted to Alternating Current (AC) using inverters.
Subsequently, the electricity will be transported to a substation via underground cables and then fed into the main electricity grid via an existing transmission line.
The solar panels will be installed in rows on a single-axis tracking system at a height of up to 4.5m. The technology will follow the path of the sun to ensure maximum production.
The onsite substation will be equipped with two main transformers and associated switchgear, while the transmission infrastructure will include up to 33kV electrical reticulation and a connection from the substation to the existing 330kV transmission line.
Other ancillary infrastructure will include staff office and amenities, spare parts storage and maintenance facilities; and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) facilities and temporary facilities required during the construction and decommissioning phases among others.
The electricity generated from the project can also be stored in the 200 MWh Battery Energy Storage System (BESS). This will help in using the stored electricity during peak hours thereby improving grid stability and reliability.
The 400MW Stubbo Solar will produce about one million megawatt hours of renewable electricity annually, enough to power around 185,000 households.
The production will help in trimming greenhouse gas emissions by more than 600,000 tonnes every year.
The project will also create up to 400 jobs during the construction phase.
As the solar panels will be installed at a height, sheep grazing can continue under and between the solar arrays.
Key entities involved
The Stubbo Solar Farm scoping report was prepared by RPS, while the EIS was delivered by Ramboll Australia.
ACEN Australia signed a connection agreement with an Australian infrastructure and energy services provider Lumea in November 2022.
Eco Logical Australia (ELA) was engaged by UPC\AC Renewables to prepare a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR) for the solar project.
Stubbo Solar will be connected to the existing 330kV transmission line that is operated by TransGrid.