The Baird government has given planning approval to build four new large-scale solar plants, possibly more than doubling the existing capacity in the Australian state, reported SMH.
The four plants that was approved to be built have a combined capacity of 175 megawatts and will generate electricity for 56,000 homes once built. Building the plants will generate more than 330 new construction jobs, save 342,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas every year and include more than half a million solar panels. New South Wales is already home to AGL’s two solar power plants located at Nyngan and Broken Hill. The two plants are operating with a combined capacity of 155 megawatts. Also under construction is the 56-megawatt solar farm in Moree, the largest solar farm being built in Australia.
Solar energy is considered the bright star for renewables in NSW. Compared to other states, New South Wales has the second lowest total share of clean energy for its electricity, ahead of only Queensland. So far this year, NSW has sourced 8.8% of its electricity from renewable sources that includes rooftop solar. It’s just barely half of Victoria’s 15.8% and a quarter of South Australia’s 36%, according to the report of energy consultants Pitt & Sherry.
Also, NSW has the potential to close the gap with its wind resource second only to South Australia’s, inland regions and proximity to major markets and existing infrastructure. The four new power plants are the White Rock project with 20-megawatt capacity, one located in Griffith for 60 megawatts, the Yoogli farm with 30 megawatts and the 65-megawatt plant for Parkes. Most of the new solar power plants will be among the largest in Australia. Aside from the Moree plant, the next largest under construction now is a 25-megawatt plant located in Barcaldine in Queensland as stated by the Clean Energy Council.
This is good news for New South Wales, it will also contribute to the country’s target in renewable energy.
Image credit: Inhabitat