Sydney Metro northwest to be powered by new solar farm in Beryl

Sydney Metro northwest to be powered by new solar farm in Beryl
Sydney Metro northwest to be powered by new solar farm in Beryl

Sydney Metro's first stage from Tullawong to Chatswood is set to purchase all its electricity needs from a new solar farm at Beryl in the Orana region of central northern New South Wales.

It was revealed through RenewEconomy and the Fin Review that Transport for NSW is on the other end of the power purchase agreement (PPA) that is underpinning the new solar farm's construction.

Transport for New South Wales is contracted to buy approximately 69% of the solar farm's output - 134,000 megawatt hours per annum - which in turn the NSW Government announced two weeks ago, to little fanfare, that that energy output will be used by the Sydney Metro Northwest.

The Beryl Solar farm's nameplate capacity sits at 87 megawatts AC and is located on a 332 hectare site approximately 5 km west of Gulgong.  The new owner of the project may also added an undisclosed amount of storage adjacent to the solar farm.

The lack of fanfare stands in stark contrast to how the Victorian Government announced its signing of a contract to source energy from renewable sources for Melbourne's tram network.

Back in January 2017 "Solar Powered Trams" was the phrase-du-jour when it was announced the state government had signed power purchase agreements with the owners of the Bannerton and Numurkah solar farms.

According to the projects' respective websites, Bannerton is expected to be connected to connected to the grid this month and Numurkah is still at a pre-construction phase.

Over the horizon, the Victorian Government is yet to announce the successful bidders in the Victoria Renewable Energy Auction Scheme which is seeking up to 650MW of new renewable energy generation.

The scheme is designed to aid in creating new generation so the state government can hit its legislated renewable energy targets: 25% of the state's electricity to be sourced from renewables by 2020 and 40% by 2025.

State Governments are some of the biggest customers in the electricity markets (think: schools, hospitals, electrified rail networks, government offices) and various states and territories around the country are using that market power to drive new investment despite the ideological roadblocks at the federal level.

Solar and Wind are now some of the cheapest ways to generate electricity, and as fossil fuel generators - namely the coal plants on the east coast - reach the end of technical life, the state governments and big corporates and local councils are moving well ahead of the stagnation in Canberra.

Lead image credit: Sydney Metro on facebook.

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor is a co-founder of Urban.com.au. Now a freelance writer, Alastair focuses on the intersection of public transport, public policy and related impacts on medium and high-density development.

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