Lightsource bp has secured planning approval to upscale plans for the Wellington North Solar Project in New South Wales. The 400-megawatt direct current (MWdc) site is adjacent to Lightsource bp’s 200 MWdc Wellington solar farm which is currently under construction. Once operational, the 600 MWdc hub could become the state’s largest renewable energy power hub.
Adam Pegg, country manager, Lightsource bp Australia, said receiving the planning approval of the Wellington North solar farm is an important step forward in the ambition to help Australia transition to a lower-carbon future.
“In a few years our 600MWdc Wellington solar hub will be producing 1,173,000 megawatt-hours of renewable electricity – the equivalent to powering 170,000 Australian homes – saving 938,000 carbon emissions annually,” Mr Pegg said.
Lightsource bp’s Wellington North solar farm will use 1.2 million bifacial solar panels – contributing to NSW’s ambition to increase its share of renewable energy to more than 60 per cent by 2030 while also playing a critical role in helping bp meet its net-zero ambitions.
Frédéric Baudry, president, bp Australia, and SVP, fuels & low carbon solutions, Asia Pacific, said the development is further affirmation of bp’s strategy of growing its low carbon businesses and transitioning from an International Oil Company to an Integrated Energy Company.
“We are proud to be progressing strong positions in renewables and contributing to Australia’s, and bp’s, net-zero by 2050 ambitions.”
During the planning process, an information event was held to allow members of the local community to view and discuss the planned proposal, which was positively received. Throughout the planning process, Lightsource bp also engaged with specialists to provide impact assessment and expertise in key areas, including biodiversity and Aboriginal heritage.
Lightsource bp has designed the project to protect and enhance 163 hectares of native vegetation and fauna habitat on the project site, including 232 hollow-bearing trees.
Lightsource bp, in consultation with Aboriginal stakeholders, has also designed the project to preserve Aboriginal heritage items, including two scarred trees, which provide Aboriginal people with an important link to their culture and their past.
The items located within the development site will be salvaged and collected prior to construction commencing and relocated to a suitable location on the project site.
Lightsource bp will also further its partnership with the Clontarf Foundation, through increasing its contribution to their local academy in Wellington, which aims to improve the education and employment prospects of young Aboriginal men through its activities.
The Wellington North solar farm is expected to create 400 local jobs during construction.