Nillumbik Council tenders for solar farm, possible battery on former landfill site

Plans to build a solar farm on a former landfill site in Melbourne’s north have reached a “key milestone” after the announcement of a request for tender for the Council-led project, as well as a proposed power purchase agreement.

The up to 5MW project planned by the Nillumbik Council for the former tip site in Plenty, north-east of Melbourne, is expected to be capable of supplying 100% of the local government’s annual electricity consumption.

The Council agreed in November 2019 to pursue the solar farm, and then this year appointed Renewable Energy Insights to advise on the tender design for the project.

Renewable Energy Insights said on Friday that a request for tender had now been launched, and the Council was also seeking to purchase electricity and LGCs from the solar farm through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

The tender, which is open until July 16, also notes the option to include energy storage with the solar farm to meet night-time electricity demand from the Council and for other “value-added land uses” such as public EV charging.

A Retail Electricity Firming Agreement, to be entered into with a retailer, sits alongside the PPA for the supply of firming electricity to the Council and for the administration of the PPA.

The tender also notes that there may be future opportunities to further add to the Council’s initial committed PPA offtake, subject to future negotiations and project capacity.

Construction on the project is expected to begin in September of this year.

Disused, council-owned landfill sites are proving to be popular contenders for transformation into solar farms to deliver cheap renewable electricity for local governments.

In the City of Newcastle, a 5MW solar farm developed on rehabilitated land at the Summerhill Waste Management Centre (pictured above) was commissioned in the latter half of 2019, in time to begin pumping out significant amounts of new renewable electricity generation into the local distribution network in Newcastle.

And in Western Australia, the City of Fremantle developed a solar farm of around 2MW in size on the former South Fremantle landfill site as part of its commitment to meet 100 per cent of council energy needs with renewable energy by 2025.

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