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Australia

Australia

Australia launches first co-location site

AUSTRALIA: The first project in Australia with both solar and wind assets has commenced operations, following the completion of a 10MW solar plant, located next to an existing wind project.

The Gullen Range co-location project in New South Wales is Australia's first of this type (pic: Arena)
The Gullen Range co-location project in New South Wales is Australia's first of this type (pic: Arena)

Developer Beijing Jingneng Clean Energy said the Gullen Range site is the first of its kind in Australia. It is located in New South Wales (NSW). 

The 165.5MW wind site, comprising Goldwind 2.5MW and 1.5MW wind turbines, has been operating since 2013. 

The whole site is 75% owned by BJCE, with the remaining 25% owned by Goldwind, with further funding provided by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena). 

Roughly 42,000 solar panels have been added to site and share the same electrical infrastructure, cutting installation and operating costs. In the case of Gullen Range, savings could total as much as A$6 million (US$4.76 million).

BJCE Australia general manager Weiwei Shi said: "This is a historic moment for clean energy in Australia. The Gullen solar farm is an important demonstration project — right at the forefront of renewable energy integration technology.

"It proves the advantages of co-locating energy infrastructure, which effectively minimises costs and environmental impacts."

Arena CEO Ivor Frischknecht said this was an important milestone for co-located renewable energy services in Australia.

"The success of the Gullen solar farm has laid the groundwork for more solar plants to be built alongside wind farms in other areas of Australia and is also helping large-scale solar costs fall more quickly.

"Wind farm owners across Australia can look to Gullen and see the benefits of adding solar plants such as reducing the environmental impact, increasing their renewable energy output, and saving money on grid connection, approvals and site development costs by co-locating renewables." Frischknecht said.

Goldwind is also involved in a second co-location project at the White Rock project in New South Wales.

Potential

The technical capacity of existing wind farms able to accommodate co-located solar farms is estimated at more than 1GW across Australia.

The greatest brownfield — retrofitting solar at an existing operating wind project — co-location opportunities are in Western and South Australia, states with good solar resources, a complementary generation profile and higher wholesale market prices.

The best greenfield opportunities for wind-solar co-location — where both are developed together — are to be found in the same regions, as well as parts of Queensland and some of NSW.

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