Octopus Australia and CEFC partner again with colocated solar and storage project in NSW

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Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Octopus Group have followed up their recent development deal for a mixed renewables hub, announcing a utility-scale solar and battery project in New South Wales. 

The national CEFC and Octopus Australia said earlier this month that their joint venture (JV) is developing a 1.5GW renewable energy hub to help replace Victoria’s soon-to-retire Yallourn coal power plant. 

As reported by Energy-Storage.news, the hub, Gippsland Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) will be one of six of its kind in the state and could include solar, wind, battery storage and possibly green hydrogen electrolyser technology.  

Last week, the pair said they will jointly develop Blind Creek Solar and Battery Project in Bungendore, New South Wales. CEFC is committing up to AU$5 million (US$3.75 million) investment into it. 

Blind Creek will feature a 300MWac solar PV plant. It is on a location between major load centres in Sydney and Canberra and Octopus Investments said it can be built and integrated into the electricity network without major transmission works being required. 

Sonia Teitel, co-head of investment and development at Octopus Investments, told Energy-Storage.news that the sizing and configuration of the battery energy storage system (BESS) is underway.

The BESS could be up to 300MW/600MWh, based on the area available. The system will be available “for the typical revenue streams in Australia, which include load shifting, ancillary services and network services,” Sonia Teitel said. 

In a statement, Teitel called it a “huge opportunity in large-scale storage in NSW,” while it will support the state’s energy transition and grow Octopus’ renewables portfolio. 

Octopus and CEFC will work together with the project’s founders, which include local landowner Dominic Osborne. Osborne said that the goal of Blind Creek is that it will colocate renewable energy generation with regenerative agriculture and carbon sequestration. Sheep grazing will continue to take place on the site. 

“The development at Blind Creek is a significant opportunity for solar and storage generation between two major load centres and in a state which will see some coal fired generation retiring in the short term, requiring significant new generation to support security and reliability,” Monique Miller, CEFC executive director, said.  

Investing in the project continued CEFC’s strategy of “closely cooperating with landowners and maintaining existing regional farming activities in conjunction with clean energy generation,” Miller said. 

Octopus Investments Australia is part of the Octopus Group, which has invested more than US$6 billion in clean energy projects since 2000 and entered the Australian market in 2018. The group’s portfolio companies also include Octopus Energy Group, which has retail and generation operations in 13 countries and largely focuses on low carbon energy. 

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