Australia’s Woodside Petroleum has submitted its proposal with Western Australia's environmental regulator for an up to 500-megawatt solar farm near its liquefied natural gas operations in the state's north-west.

The WA Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) confirmed via Twitter on Monday that Woodside had submitted its proposal for the Woodside Solar Facility, which will be located in the Maitland Strategic Industrial Area, roughly 15 kilometres south-west of Karratha.

Are you missing out on ACCELERATE?
Gain valuable insight into the global oil and gas industry energy transition from ACCELERATE, the free weekly newsletter from Upstream and Recharge.

The proposal seeks to generate up to 500MW of electricity from a large-scale solar photovoltaic farm, consisting of roughly 1 million solar panels.

It also intends to build battery storage facilities to complement the solar farm, with the battery storage capacity of the proposed development estimated to be a maximum of 200MW hours for each 50MW of solar generation capacity.

The proposal also covers the installation of an electrical substation and access road, along with supporting facilities that may include a maintenance workshop, laydown areas, office, ablutions and crib facilities.

Woodside is proposing for electricity from the solar farm to be delivered to industrial customers via Horizon Power's North-West Interconnected System (NWIS), which provides for connection of new generators and loads.

Phased development

The company is planning to build the Woodside Solar Facility in 100MW phases, with the construction period of each phase expected to be between six and nine months.

Woodside first flagged its plans for a solar farm near its LNG facilities on the Burrup Peninsular last year, unveiling plans for a 100MW solar development, consisting of roughly 210,000 solar panels.

At the time, it said the initial 100MW development would make it one of the largest solar projects in Western Australia.

When it announced the project, Woodside confirmed it was investigating the supply of roughly 50MW of solar energy from the proposed project to its Pluto LNG facility, along with a further 50MW to Perdaman’s proposed urea facility on the Burrup Peninsula, which will produce blue ammonia from natural gas.

Woodside revealed in its proposal documents lodged with the EPA on Monday that the initial 100MW development would include battery storage capable of storing up to 400Mwh.

The Australian operator believes the initial 100MW development has the potential to reduce up to 100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas emissions per annum. To put this into perspective, Woodside's total Scope 1 and 2 emissions in 2020 were 9.2 million tonnes.

However, Woodside also noted in its EPA proposal the solar farm development could also lead to a reduction in other potentially harmful emissions, such as nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides.