What's been happening?
The Wellington North Solar Plant is a proposed solar plant to be located north east of Wellington, NSW. AGL has recently submitted our Submissions Report to the NSW Department of Planning & Environment (DP&E).
The report is in response to the submissions provided by the community and government agencies.
AGL has also made amendments to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) which we have submitted to DP&E as an Amendment Report.
The Amendment Report proposes a new powerline route to connect the solar plant to the electricity grid. This will allow easier access to the 330kV electricity network on the eastern side of the Wellington substation and to minimise the number of crossings over existing powerlines. A detailed assessment of the impact of this change is provided in the Amendment Report.
The proposed solar plant would be located approximately seven kilometres north-east of Wellington, off Goolma Road, and 50 kilometres south-east of Dubbo in the Orana region of NSW. The plant would be within the Dubbo Regional Council Local Government Area.
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AGL is currently conducting feasibility studies for a 300 MW solar plant near Wellington, New South Wales. If the project application is approved by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, the Wellington North Solar Plant would provide enough energy to power to approximately 98,000 average NSW homes.
Given the high levels of solar irradiance in the central west, the strong transmission network in the region and the declining cost of solar power, projects like the Wellington North Solar Plant will become a vital source of new power generation.
At AGL, we operate the country’s largest electricity generation portfolio and are the largest ASX-listed investor in renewable energy. We're committed to creating a sustainable energy future for Australia.
Australia requires the development of new, reliable and low-emissions energy supply. As ageing power stations reach the end of their economic life, significant electricity generation capacity is being retired from the National Electricity Market.
AGL is considering the proposed Wellington North Solar Plant as part of our commitment to meet Australia's future energy needs in a cost-effective and sustainable way.
We have made significant investments in renewable energy, including the Nyngan and Broken Hill solar plants. In other parts of NSW, we are also considering high-efficiency gas plant, grid-scale batteries, and other renewable energy projects.
AGL hosts two community drop-in sessions
AGL hosted two community drop-in sessions on Wednesday 5 September 2018 to provide interested community members with detailed information about our Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that is currently on public exhibition.
Over twenty local community members ‘dropped-in’ to the Wellington Civic Centre to find out more about the proposed plant and what work AGL has done to date.
AGL’s Wellington North Solar Plant EIS will be on public exhibition until 19 September 2018 and can be found here.
AGL presents to Dubbo Regional Council's Executive Leadership Team
To coincide with AGL’s project application to the Department of Planning & Environment (DP&E), AGL presented the Wellington North Solar Plant proposal to Dubbo Regional Council’s Executive Leadership Team on 22 August 2018.
You can view AGL’s presentation here.
AGL are continuing to work with the Dubbo Regional Council to ensure that the Wellington community get the best possible benefits from AGL’s proposed solar plant.
Bus trip to the Nyngan Solar Plant
As part of AGL's consultation process with the local community, we offered a bus tour to the Nyngan Solar Plant for our neighbours, local Councillors and interested Men’s Shed members.
Taking place on Wednesday 18 April, the purpose of the site visit was to enable community members to view a solar plant, be up close to solar panels and associated infrastructure and ask us any questions that might arise.
The primary questions were regarding:
- visual amenity
- the sound from plant
- scale of plant
- grazing possibilities for sheep
By understanding the key questions that were raised during the bus tour, AGL can make sure that we incorporate the questions and response into our EIS.
We would like to thank the Powering Australian Renewables Fund (the owners of the Nyngan Solar Plant) and Marts Café in Nyngan for helping to make the trip a success.
On 5 February 2018 Jon (AGL’s Project Manager) and Alex (AGL’s Community Relations Manager) presented to the Men’s Shed introducing them to AGL, the National Electricity Market and Large-Scale Solar, including the proposed Wellington North Solar Plant.
You can view the presentation here.
A couple of the Members are also members in other local groups and have asked AGL to present to them, AGL has accepted this offer. If your community group would like AGL to speak at your next event, morning tea or lunch, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
AGL hosts community drop-in afternoon
AGL hosted a community drop-in afternoon on Tuesday 28 November 2017 to provide interested community members with more information on the proposed Wellington North Solar Plant.
Over a dozen local community members ‘dropped-in’ to the Wellington Civic Centre to find out more about the proposed plant. This was an opportunity for the community to find out more about AGL’s proposed solar project and to be involved in the planning process.
Questions that were raised at this event are outlined below in the ‘FAQs’ section. We also asked community members if there were areas in the local community that they would like us to conduct a visual impact assessment from. These suggestions will be passed onto our consultant who will add them to their list of local sites.
Presentation to Dubbo Regional Council Councillors
Our project team recently presented an introduction to the proposed Wellington North Solar Plant to some Councillors from the Dubbo Regional Council.
You can view this presentation here.
Refer back to this page to receive updates on the next community event.
AGL understands that we don’t always get it right, and we want to be informed when we don’t. If you would like to provide any feedback, good or bad, or simply ask some questions, please feel free to get in touch via the following channels:
AGL Community Complaints and Enquiries Hotline: 1800 039 600
Mail: AGL Community Complaints & Enquiries, Locked Bag 3013, Australia Square NSW 1215
We strive to make a net positive social, economic and environmental contribution to the communities in which we operate. We know this is only possible if we engage with the community in an open and transparent way.
AGL has been consulting with the Wellington community for nearly a year now. Whilst the project application is on public exhibition, you can submit a formal response on the Department of Planning & Environment’s website.
Wellington is fast becoming a renewable energy hub in New South Wales. After a number of approved and proposed projects in the area, the local community is familiar with the impacts of these projects.
AGL has heard concerns from the community about the impact of our plant, as well as the combined impact of the surrounding projects. Other community members are keen to understand the economic opportunities for the local and regional community the plant may bring.
We will continue to work with local community members and interested groups to help us identify and understand questions or concerns.
Here are the most frequently asked questions about the Wellington North Solar Plant from the local community. Please get in touch if you have additional questions.
We estimate the project will require approximately 250 full-time jobs during the construction phase. This is similar to the number of construction jobs created for the Nyngan Solar Plant.
There is a range of opportunities for local suppliers in general trade and support services, such as:
- Vegetation management, such as clearing, mulching, rehabilitation.
- Fencing services.
- Electrical work.
- General civil services, such as grader, dozer and excavator operators.
- Water services.
- Security services.
- Traffic management.
- General construction services.
- Meals and accommodation services.
We expect the construction period to last between 18 to 24 months.
We anticipate the project will create a small number of new full-time jobs (2-5) once the plant is operational.
There will also be a range of service jobs such as vegetation management, electrical service and maintenance which would be contracted on an as-needed basis during the operational phase.
It is always our preference to prioritise local employment if there are suitable candidates for these jobs.
AGL operates under a sustainable procurement policy and we seek to engage local businesses whenever possible. Where commercially competitive local suppliers exist, we encourage our partners and contractors to prioritise local suppliers in the tender of packages of work.
If the project proceeds, we will hold events to bring together local businesses, job seekers and senior project representatives from AGL to discuss the construction requirements of the project.
Learn more about AGL procurement.
AGL has been consulting for neighbours for over a year now. If we have missed you, please contact us to let us know.
In the past, the property was used for agricultural purposes, including grazing and cropping.
AGL are currently considering if sheep will be able to graze in and around the solar panels. Our experience in Nyngan taught us that the panels should be a certain height so that sheep don’t break the panels, so we are factoring that learning into our considerations.
The proposed solar plant would occupy approximately 800 hectares of land.
The entire AGL site is about 950 hectares. We anticipate that approximately 75% of the site will be suitable for solar panels (so we expect around 800 hectares of land would be covered by panels).
We will assess in more detail what land is suitable for panels during the planning and design phases of the project. Some land may not be suitable if it is on a steep incline or is constrained by environmental conditions.
We have a variety of community investment programs at all of our operational sites. These programs are developed in consultation with the community and include local sponsorships as well as grants programs.
AGL are considering a variety of programs including:
- Construction community investment program
- Energy discounts for community members
- Rooftop solar for closest neighbours
- Apprenticeship/training program
We are working with the Dubbo Regional Council to ensure these programs are suited to the Wellington community.
These programs usually begin once the project has been approved and construction commences.
Continuous engagement with the local community is important. We have found that the Wellington community prefers face-to-face meetings and letterbox drop updates.
We have and will continue to, have drop-in sessions at the Wellington Civic Centre.
The solar plant must attract as much sunlight as possible to generate as much energy as possible. Planting trees along the boundary of the site could impact the plant and may not be the most suitable solution.
However, we acknowledge that community members have differing views on the appearance of the solar plant. Some screening has been recommended and can be found on Page 36 of the Visual Impact Assessment here.
The project is in the early stages of planning and we are currently undertaking environmental studies. We have submitted out Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
The project will cost up to $400 million to construct. This figure will depend on the final configuration of the project, following planning and community consultation stages.
AGL has submitted our Environment Impact Assessment (EIS) to the NSW Department of Planning and Environment.
For more information, email AGLCommunity@agl.com.au.