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AEMO Services has awarded the first round of tender recipients of a $2.5 billion investment in renewable energy projects as part of the New South Wales Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap, meaning that New South Wales has locked in 4.1GW of its legislated 12GW target.

The recipients include two solar farms, a wind farm and a long-duration battery, and will contribute 1.4GW of renewable energy generation in New South Wales. 

New South Wales is now one-third of the way towards meeting its 2030 target.

The projects awarded Long Term Energy Service Agreements (LTESAs) are two solar farms and one wind farm, including:

  • ACEN Australia’s 720MW New England Solar Farm in the New England Renewable Energy Zone
  • ACEN Australia’s 400MW Stubbo Solar Farm in the Central West Orana Renewable Energy Zone
  • Goldwind Australia Pty Ltd’s 275MW Coppabella Wind Farm in the Southern Tablelands.

In an Australian first, an LTESA will also be awarded to a long-duration chemical battery that can deliver at least eight hours’ continuous discharge of stored electricity. This project is RWE Renewables Australia’s 50MW/400MW-hours Limondale battery energy storage system (BESS) in the South West Renewable Energy Zone.

New South Wales Minister for Energy, Penny Sharpe, said, “The transition to clean renewable energy in New South Wales is essential and underway.

“These projects will fill the gap that will be left with the planned closures of coal-fired power stations in the coming decade.”

These generation and long-duration storage infrastructure projects, assessed and awarded by AEMO Services, will help to replace the state’s existing coal-fired generators.

AEMO Services Executive General Manager, Paul Verschuer, said that together, the successful projects would deliver enough electricity to power 700,000 homes.

“This is a highly successful outcome for the first Roadmap tender process – three renewable generation projects with a capacity of 1,395MW (4,009 GWh), alongside one long-duration storage lithium-ion battery project with a continuous discharge capacity of at least eight hours, all of which have comprehensively demonstrated their financial value to New South Wales electricity consumers and benefits to their host communities.

“The indicative generation target for this tender round was around 950MW (2,500GW/h), and due to the quality and value of bids we’ve been able to exceed that projection.

“There is clearly a strong appetite for private sector investment in generation, storage and firming assets which capture the enormous economic opportunity of the energy transition, and we’re incentivising that investment through this tender process,” Mr Verschuer said.

“This tender has shown how much demand there is to invest in New South Wales to build renewable energy and it is very welcome that this investment will also support 3,300 jobs over the next ten years,” Ms Sharpe said.

The projects are the first round of a rolling ten-year tender plan, which will see tenders every six months as New South Wales transitions to reliable, clean, cheaper, renewable energy.

AEMO Services expects these projects to be operational and connected to the grid at the time of the expected closure of Eraring Power Station as early as 2025 to 2026.

“This tender round has brought forward a range of innovative and considered initiatives from proponents, including ambitious projects to secure employment outcomes for First Nations people, careful and creative site selection, and other community benefits,” Mr Verschuer said.

“A key feature of the tender design was a two-stage process – the first assessed a project’s social licence commitments, deliverability and quality of proponent. The second assessed a project’s financial value.

“The successful bidders have balanced price-competitive energy delivery with investments in other initiatives that contribute to broader community and economic benefits for host regions.

“Our tender process allows projects that passed the first stage but were ultimately unsuccessful to submit new, more competitive financial bids at minimum cost in future tender rounds. We’re confident many of these resubmitted bids will be well placed for selection.” 

AEMO Services has forecast that these projects could displace up to eleven million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over the 20-year contract.

Separately, another important part of the Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap has also progressed with EnergyCo selecting ACE Energy as the first-ranked proponent as Network Operator for the Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone.

©2024 Utility Magazine. All rights reserved

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