During the construction period, AGL estimates that up to 300 direct, local construction jobs will be generated in Nyngan. First Solar will source as many of these jobs from Nyngan and the surrounding region as possible. In addition, First Solar will aim to maximise local and regional content in plant procurement and construction through local sourcing of materials.
AGL estimates that tens of millions of dollars will be spent in the region during plant construction on labour, housing, food and materials. This economic activity will create additional jobs in the region at hotels, restaurants, shopping centres, materials suppliers and other local businesses.
The construction of the solar plant will provide training to local workers in solar plant construction, high voltage power system construction, and construction management support and logistics. Additionally, plant construction and operation will engage a broad range of participants about solar construction methods, local planning issues and solar plant performance. The Nyngan project, together with AGL’s other solar project at Broken Hill, will assist with supply chain development across the state that will benefit the entire solar industry in Australia.
The Nyngan Solar Plant is expected to generate approximately 233,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of clean, renewable electricity each year. On an annual basis, the project will produce enough electricity to meet the needs of approximately 33,000 average New South Wales homes. The project will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by over 195,720 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per annum, assuming a rate of 0.84 tonnes per MWh of electricity. This is roughly equivalent to removing 53,000 cars from the road. Particulate and heavy metal emissions will also be reduced.
The AGL solar projects will also facilitate research supported by the Education Investment Fund (EIF). AGL will collaborate with the University of Queensland (UQ) and the University of New South Wales (UNSW), as well as First Solar, to implement original research which will support the future development of solar energy in Australia.
The Australian Government will provide $40.7 million to UQ and UNSW to support construction of research infrastructure through the Education Investment Fund.
The University of Queensland (UQ) will build a 3.275MW PV research plant at its Gatton campus to test tracking technologies and performance, energy storage, and operational strategies. UQ will also build a data analysis centre at its St Lucia campus to collect and analyse data from the Gatton research plant and the main AGL power stations.
The University of New South Wales (UNSW) will develop new energy modelling techniques to assist in the design and integration of solar power stations into the electricity grid.
UQ’s media release can be found here.