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Important solar farm and battery approved for the coal country of New South Wales

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A 290 MW solar farm planned for construction in the New South Wales coal country in the greater Hunter region has won the final go-ahead from the state government’s planning department.

The $ 431 Wollar photovoltaic park, which would also have a 30 MW / 30 MW battery storage system, was approved by NSW’s planning minister late last month for construction between the cities of Denman and Mudgee.

The project, which is expected to create up to 320 construction jobs, was developed by the Australian company of the same name, Wollar Solar Development Pty Ltd, founded in 2017 to build large-scale solar generation projects.

According to a corporate booklet, Wollar Solar’s management team – names are not mentioned – is “skilled” in planning transmission grid connections, financing renewable projects and developing and managing large-scale projects in Australia and international level.

In his decision notice, the planning minister said the significant state project would generate enough electricity to power around 108,000 homes and contribute to the transition of the electricity sector from coal and gas power plants to renewable energy.

In this particular case, this would include AGL Energy’s Liddell coal-fired power plant in the Hunter region, which has been the subject of some controversy in recent times, amid speculations that the federal government is planning to eliminate three-year retirement. , until 2026.

A recent draft report by the Commonwealth-led Liddell task force found that extending the life of the 50-year old power plant – which is currently slated for closure in 2023 – would cost an additional $ 300 million to keep only two units in operation until 2026.

The federal coalition, while it was reported by Sky News that it is evaluating how to keep the 1680 MW plant open until 2026, said it will await the final results of the Task Force before making a final call.

The NSW, for its part, is not keen on the extension, with state energy minister Matt Kean communicating budget estimates in Sydney on Friday that the Hunter Valley coal-fired power station was “a very old piece of kit” which “obviously becomes more dangerous” as it ages.

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