On an annual basis, the Broken Hill Solar Plant will produce enough electricity to meet the needs of approximately 22,000 average Australian homes.

Broken Hill Solar Plant was one of two large-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants delivered by AGL in 2015, jointly funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the NSW Government.

The 53 MW solar plant is expected to generate approximately 126,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of clean, renewable electricity each year.

It will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by over 103,710 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per annum, assuming a rate of 0.84 tonnes per MWh of electricity. Particulate and heavy metal emissions will also be reduced.

Location

Broken Hill has one of the highest levels of solar radiation in NSW, making it an ideal location for a solar plant. Plus, with a large local population and several industrial sites nearby, there is significant demand for electrical power in the region.

The site sits about 5 km southwest of the Broken Hill township, adjacent to Willyama Common. An existing substation is nearby, enabling relatively efficient connection into the electrical grid.

The solar plant occupies approximately 140 hectares of Crown Land bounded by the Barrier Highway to the north and the Peterborough-Broken Hill rail line to the south, and administered by the NSW Department Primary Industries, Lands and Water.

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Overview
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Powering Australian Renewables Fund

On behalf of the Powering Australian Renewables Fund (PARF), AGL announced in November 2016 that it had reached financial close on selling its 102 MW Nyngan and 53 MW Broken Hill solar plants into the fund.

The AU$257 million sale, with approximately nil profit on sale, includes AGL writing a long term offtake agreement with the two solar plants.

Media release: Powering Australian Renewables Fund achieves first major milestone

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Project delivery

AGL was responsible for the development and management of Broken Hill Solar Plant. Construction began in mid-July 2014 and was completed at the end of 2015. The plant was officially opened in January 2016.

First Solar provided AGL with engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services and is also maintaining the plant for its first five years of commercial operation. The electricity produced by the project will be sold under a power purchase agreement to AGL Hydro Partnership, a partnership between wholly owned subsidiaries of AGL.

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How does the solar plant work?

First Solar's advanced cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin film photovoltaic (PV) modules convert sunlight into electricity, which is then fed into the electrical grid. This process generates electricity with no air emissions, no waste production and no water use.

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Generation

Generation from the Broken Hill Solar Plant commenced on 15 September 2015. Full generation (53 MW) was achieved in October 2015.

The following information is provided for calendar year 2016 and calendar year 2017:

  • actual generation from the solar plant during the AEMO trading interval
  • actual regional reference price for each trading interval
  • link to Green Energy Markets showing the LGC market prices.

The Broken Hill Solar Plant is connected to the National Electricity Market (NEM) which is managed by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). For a glossary of terms associated with the NEM and mentioned in our report please refer to the AEMO website. The solar plant revenue is also subject to the Marginal Loss Factors (MLF) which are published each financial year by AEMO.

Report: Broken Hill Generation

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News

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Community complaints and enquiries

If you would like to enquire or make a complaint about Broken Hill Solar Plant, please feel free to contact us via the following channels:


AGL Community Complaints & Enquiries Hotline: 1800 039 600

Email: AGLCommunity@agl.com.au

Mail: AGL Community Complaints & Enquiries, Locked Bag 3013, Australia Square NSW 1215


You can find out more about how AGL engages with the community here and access the Community Complaints and Feedback Policy here.

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In this section


Community engagement

During AGL's involvement in the construction of the Broken Hill Solar Plant, we committed to keeping the community in the loop at every stage. We continue to hold regular engagement sessions, and keep the community informed through regular advertisements, other updates and more – listening and responding to locals' concerns and questions.

We also actively supported local community groups through ongoing sponsorships and partnership, financial and in-kind support to a range of initiatives, projects and events – in areas including health, social welfare, safety, environment, education, youth, sport, recreation, culture, arts and economic development.

You can review our direct involvement with the local community including archived agendas, minutes and presentations from the Community Consultative Committee (CCC) in the documents tab above.


For more information, please read the Broken Hill Solar Plant Community & Stakeholder Engagement Plan.

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Jobs and industry

During the construction period, up to 150 construction jobs were generated in Broken Hill. First Solar sourced as many of these jobs from the Broken Hill community and surrounding area as possible. They also maximised local and regional content in plant procurement and construction through sourcing local materials.

Local opportunities provided during plant construction included:

  • civil engineering and site preparation
  • post, racking, and module installation
  • high voltage power system works
  • communications and monitoring system works
  • construction and supervision roles
  • administration and construction support roles.

Local workers were trained in solar plant construction, high voltage power system construction, and construction management support and logistics. The project engaged a broad range of participants on solar construction methods, local planning issues and solar plant performance.

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Environmental management plans

First Solar and Consolidated Power Projects (CPP) prepared Construction Environmental Management Plans in consultation with the Broken Hill City Council and NSW Crown Lands and in accordance with the Guideline for the Preparation of Environmental Management Plans (Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources, 2004).

The plans – which were approved by the Director-General and implemented during construction – included:

The Operational Environmental Management Plan for the Broken Hill Solar Plant was prepared in accordance with condition C4 of the Project Approval and the Guideline for the Preparation of Environment Management Plans (Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources, 2004). It was approved by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.

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Environmental assessment

Development in NSW is subject to the requirements of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) and its associated regulation.

AGL submitted a Preliminary Environmental Assessment (PEA) for the project in November 2010, and the project was identified by the NSW Department of Planning & Infrastructure (DoPI) as a Major Project under Part 3A of the EP&A Act. DoPI issued Environmental Assessment Requirements (also known as DGRs) for the project in December 2010.

Based on these requirements, AGL prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the project. This was placed on public exhibition from 29 October through 30 November 2012, during which time six submissions were received. AGL duly prepared a Submissions Report, with the report submitted to DoPI in January 2013.

DoPI referred the project to the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) for final determination and the project was approved on 27 March 2013. As part of the project approval, the PAC specified that AGL must:

  • prevent, minimise and/or offset adverse environmental impacts
  • comply with standards and environmental performance measures for the project
  • establish monitoring programs and provide regular reporting
  • provide for ongoing environmental management of the project

AGL also submitted a referral under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act to the Federal Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPAC). DSEWPAC determined that the proposed action was not a controlled action – so the project did not require further assessment or approval.

All of the reports mentioned above are available in the documents below. For more information:

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