13/06/2022 - 13:10

South Energy solar farm switchyard approved

13/06/2022 - 13:10

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A development panel has approved South Energy's plan to build a switchyard as part of its $150 million 100-megawatt solar farm in Wellesley.

South Energy solar farm switchyard approved
South Energy is proposing to build a $12 million switchyard to facilitate power from the solar farm in Benger. Photo: South Energy

A development panel has approved South Energy's plan to build a switchyard as part of its $150 million 100-megawatt solar farm in Wellesley.

The Regional Joint Development Assessment Panel unanimously approved the Kemerton Renewable Energy Node Switchyard, dubbed the KEREN switchyard, at its meeting this morning.

SE Campbell Development, on behalf of renewable energy developer South Energy, lodged the $12 million switchyard proposal to the JDAP pathway through GHD urban planner Hide Shigeyoshi.

The Shire of Harvey's responsible authority report also supported the proposal, which is part of the $150 million Benger solar farm.

The solar farm aims to supply renewable energy to about 35,000 homes while the KEREN switchyard exports the power to the Kemerton Strategic Industrial Area (KSIA) commercial clients.

However, the responsible authority report said the proposed electrical output generated by the Benger solar farm was far greater than the capacity of commercial systems.

“The switchyard will supply power, first to tenant(s) within the KSIA in a micro grid setup, before exporting the remaining power to the South West Interconnected System,” the report said.

The switchyard application comprises of a 22-kilovolt switch room, control room, two transformers, a capacitor bank, 10 battery hubs, two station service transformers, 14 disconnector switches and eight dead tank circuit breakers.

Each battery hub will include 16 batteries, four grid forming inverter units, a power plant controller panel, two control and auxiliary panels, and a transformer.

JDAP deputy presiding member Kanella Hope said she was part of the panel which gave the initial approval for the Benger solar farm project in 2019.

"It’s good to see this moving ahead and what this means for Kemerton but I’m also satisfied there’s been a thorough assessment and compliant with the planning framework," she said.

Conditions attached to the approval include the applicant to provide a bushfire management plan and a landscaping plan before starting any works on the site.

The Benger solar farm is expected to start operating in 2024 with the power purchase agreement currently under discussion with interested parties.

The proposal site, owned by WA Land Authority trading as DevelopmentWA, is 135 kilometres south of Perth.

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