Coal miners planning to add renewables
Published Date : 2024-January-12, Friday
Plans have been released for two new large-scale renewable
energy projects in New South Wales on land associated with coal mining.
Whitehaven Energy is proposing to develop a solar farm adjacent
to its existing Narrabri Mine, approximately 25km south-east of Narrabri and
approximately 60km north-west of Gunnedah in the New England region.
The Whitehaven Solar Farm will have a capacity of approximately
26MW DC / 20MW AC, providing behind-the-meter electricity to the Narrabri Mine
via an existing 66kV transmission line.
The project has an estimated capital investment value of
approximately $45mil and is expected to create around 65 jobs during peak construction.
The solar farm has been designed to roughly match the
average electricity demand of the mine in 2024, expected to be approximately 11MW,
during a winter scenario during solar hours - the worst-case scenario for solar
Narrabri Mine is currently permitted to operate until 2044, and
so is expected to close prior to the expiration of the design life of the solar
farm. Before the mine closes Whitehaven said it will “look at opportunities to
divest the solar farm to third parties or decommission the project”.
Yancoal is looking to extend operations at its Stratford
Mining Complex in the Hunter Valley region, following the scheduled completion
of mining in 2024, by proposing to develop the Stratford Renewable Energy Hub
The SREH comprises a proposed Pumped Hydro Energy Storage project
with an indicative capacity of 3.6GWh (300MW over 12 hours) alongside a 330MW DC
solar farm to supply a portion of the energy requirements of the PHES.
The proposed project is close to existing electricity
transmission infrastructure, provides suitable topographic variations for pumped
hydro, and has access to water stored in mine voids.
Applicant Gloucester Coal, a wholly owned subsidiary of
Yancoal, saw the SREH as “an opportunity to integrate closure/rehabilitation
activities with construction of the Project, allowing the site to be
efficiently transitioned for beneficial re-use (subject to timely approvals)”.
Scoping reports for both projects have been submitted to the
NSW state planning authority.
last year EDF Renewables and Malabar Resources also announced plans for their
350MW Edderton Solar Farm “to be constructed on land adjacent to Malabar
Resources’ Maxwell Underground Mine south of Muswellbrook” in the Hunter Valley.