100MW sun power plan for Daroobalgie

Location map for the proposed Daroobalgie solar farm from Pacific Hydro's website www.pacifichydro.com.au
Location map for the proposed Daroobalgie solar farm from Pacific Hydro's website www.pacifichydro.com.au

Daroobalgie is the proposed site for a new solar power station with the capacity to power about 34,000 homes. 

Krista Kim from Pacific Hydro, a Chinese-owned company, outlined plans for the 100MW PV power station to Forbes Shire Council's February meeting last Thursday.

She said the company was looking at a $150 million investment, which would create up to 160 construction jobs and at least four to six permanent jobs. It would see the installation of 420,000 photovoltaic panels on a 350 hectare site - including six hectares of laydown area.

Pacific Hydro is currently carrying out environmental and geotechnical assessments of the site, on Troubalgie Road not far from the Central West Livestock Exchange.

They have already leased land and started speaking to neighbouring property owners. 

Ms Kim said they hoped to lodge a development application in the third quarter of this year, but work wouldn't start until at least 2021 as "there's a lot to get through before then". 

"That's at the earliest, the investment conditions have to be right," she said.

The company's website has a section on the Daroobalgie proposal, outlining why its an excellent site for solar.

The reasons include it being a strong location for efficiency capture of energy from the sun; 

high potential for connection to nearby substations and transmission lines, making it possible to export electricity generated to Australia’s National Electricity Market;

flat terrain with minimal trees and vegetation. The property is currently used for livestock grazing and cropping; and

excellent transport links, with options for both road and rail haulage.

Ms Kim said a number of transmission line options were being discussed.

"We've identified about three at the moment, and of course we would hope to engage with all of the land owners," she said.

"There is an opportunity to potentially overbuild the existing 66kV line, what that means is adding infrastructure to the top of the existing powerline, although that's not been determined yet.

"We will continue to engage with key stakeholders and landholders to determine the best possible transmission option."

Pacific Hydro is wholly owned by State Power Investment Corporation of China.

"We have just ticked over 1GW of installed capacity and that's across Australia, Chile and Brazil," Ms Kim said. "We have wind farms, we are heading into solar … and also hydro power stations."

Battery storage is also being considered.