Initial plans to construct a Solar Farm at Narrabri Mine begin
The Project would generate 26MW of electricity, helping the Narrabri Mine to reduce the electricity it consumes from the grid.
Initial studies indicate the proposed solar farm would provide more than one-third of the Narrabri Mine’s electricity and require a capital investment of approximately $43 million.
The Project would be located adjacent to the existing Narrabri Mine on Whitehaven land, approximately 25km south-east of Narrabri.
The factsheet includes a detailed map of the proposed solar farm.
Visual studies and glint and glare assessments will be included in the Project’s Environmental Impact Statement, which will be placed on public exhibition. From initial evaluation, available views of the solar array are expected to be limited due to the distance, topography and intervening vegetation.
Whitehaven owns the Project land, which is used for grazing and cropping.
The Project will not connect to the grid. It is a behind-the-meter proposal to supply electricity directly to the Narrabri Mine via the existing electricity transmission line for the remainder of the mine’s operational life.
The total estimated cost of the solar farm at present is around $43M.
Following the lodgement of the Scoping Document for the proposed Whitehaven Solar Farm Project, the upcoming steps will include the following:
- Environmental Impact Statement (EIS development)
- Development Application, including the EIS, lodged with NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE)
- DPE reviews the EIS and prepares for public exhibition
- EIS placed on public exhibition for comment
- Whitehaven responds to submissions
- DPE assess the EIS, submissions and Whitehaven responses
- Determination from the Department of Planning and Environment or Independent Planning Commission
- Tender and construction phase
Why is the project going through an environmental assessment process?
Due to the Project’s cost, it will be considered under the State Significant Development process and will require a submission of a Development Application to the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE). This means that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be required. The EIS will be placed on public exhibition in due course.
Whitehaven is committed to ongoing, comprehensive engagement with the community and stakeholders throughout the process.
This includes neighbours, local community members and the Aboriginal community, the Narrabri Mine Community Consultative Committee (CCC), Narrabri Shire Council and relevant government agencies as part of the Department of Planning and Environment’s (DPE) requirements.
A Narrabri Mine Community Consultative Committee (CCC) has already been formed and continues to meet. Russell Stewart is the Independent Chair.
As part of the proposed Project’s Environmental Impact Statement, any Aboriginal cultural heritage surveys will be undertaken in consultation with Registered Aboriginal Parties in accordance with the NSW Government requirements for consultation and preparation of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessments.
A Road Transport Assessment will be conducted as part of the Project EIS. The key project phase resulting in traffic generation will be the construction phase and buses to transport construction workers will be used to minimise impacts on the surrounding road network.
As part of Whitehaven’s commitment to reduce its operational greenhouse gas emissions, it has been purchasing carbon neutral electricity certified by Climate Active since October 2021 across all of its mines, including Narrabri. This means the greenhouse gas emissions from the generation of electricity are offset by the electricity supplier through the purchase of carbon offsets.
The Solar Farm Project will allow the carbon neutral electricity previously consumed by the Narrabri Mine to be dispatched elsewhere in the grid.
The Request for Tender (RFT) scope to select the construction contractor will include a requirement to minimise packaging and therefore waste disposal volumes. Contractors will be asked to confirm their experience and approach; and this will be taken into account in evaluation and contractor selection. All regulations will be adhered to.
Lodgement of Scoping Report (September 2023)
Environmental Impact Statement (EIS development)
Development Application, including the EIS, lodged with NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE)
DPE reviews the EIS and prepares for public exhibition
EIS placed on public exhibition for comment
Whitehaven responds to submissions
DPE assess the EIS, submissions and Whitehaven responses
Determination from the Department of Planning and Environment or Independent Planning Commission
Tender and construction phase
Whitehaven Solar Farm Project
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Whitehaven Solar Farm
Scoping Report submitted to the Department of Planning and Environment