Lightsource bp, a global leader in the development and management of solar energy projects, and 50:50 JV with bp, has secured planning approval for upscaling plans for the Wellington North solar project, which was acquired from AGL last year. The 400MWdc site is adjacent to Lightsource bp’s near-complete 200MWdc Wellington solar farm. Once operational, the 600MWdc hub could become the state’s largest renewable energy power hub.
Adam Pegg, country manager, Lightsource bp Australia, said: “We are very excited about the planning approval of our Wellington North solar farm; this is an important step forward in our ambition to help Australia transition to a lower carbon future. In a few years our 600MWdc Wellington solar hub will be producing 1,173,000MWh of renewable electricity – the equivalent to powering 170,000 Australian homes – saving 938,000 carbon emissions annually.”
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% 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: “This exciting development is further affirmation of bp's strategy of growing our 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.”
Despite the global challenges of COVID-19, solar power continues to demonstrate its resilience and reliability. The solar farm will provide direct economic stimulus in Wellington by creating 400 local employment opportunities during construction.
Alongside providing locally generated renewable energy and creating new jobs, the Wellington North solar farm has been designed to benefit the local environment and community. 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 ha 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.
Wellington North is the latest to join Lightsource bp’s portfolio of solar projects in Australia designed to help the country meet its renewable energy goals while also lowering power prices and benefiting local communities.
Since partnering with bp in 2017 and entering the market in 2018, Lightsource bp has developed a significant pipeline of large-scale solar projects across Australia. Together, Wellington North, Wellington, West Wyalong and Woolooga solar farms exceed over 900MWdc and once operational, will make Lightsource bp one of the largest solar developers to own and operate in Australia.