Wattle Creek Energy Hub Community Newsletter #1
23 February 2023
The Proposal: Wattle Creek Energy Hub
The Wattle Creek Energy Hub is a hybrid renewable energy facility proposed on the ‘Arthursleigh’ property owned by University of Sydney, located approximately 12km north-east of Marulan in the NSW Southern Tablelands region, situated in the Upper Lachlan Shire.
The Energy Hub is proposed to include a wind farm, solar farm and a Battery Energy Storage Facility (BESS).
The project is being developed by Spark Renewables, a leading developer and long-term owner and operator of renewable energy assets. If it proceeds, the project could also support university research and education through a new, onsite, test-bed facility, a research fund and other initiatives.
We are keen to hear from community members and interested stakeholders and will be holding an initial community drop-in session from 2pm to 7pm
on Thursday, 9th March 2023 at the Marulan War Memorial Hall, 80 George Street, Marulan. Community members will be able to talk to the Spark Renewables team, learn more about the proposal, and provide initial feedback. Please see the last page of this newsletter for further information.
Why this site?
The proposed site is strategically located to take advantage of local wind conditions, the local solar resource and its location relative to the existing electricity transmission network with a proposed connection to the Marulan Substation.
About the site
The farm is owned by the University of Sydney after being bequeathed in 1979. The farm is operated commercially and is used for a range of research initiatives including agricultural science, pasture agronomy and unmanned aerial vehicle applications. Agricultural land use will continue with the operation of the project, with sheep grazing within the wind and solar farm areas.
What are the community benefits?
The local community will be able to benefit from a range of opportunities connected with the proposal if progressed, including a community fund and a neighbour benefit fund. Spark Renewables is looking to work with local stakeholders to co-design a program that meets the unique needs of the wider community, and delivers long-lasting social, economic and environmental benefits for decades to come. We are keen to hear any ideas from community members as the benefit scheme is developed. If you wish to have a chat or organise a time to meet, please contact us via email at email@example.com or call 1300 271 419.
Committed to reconciliation
Spark Renewables is putting in place a Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan and is committed to creating lasting, positive change for Aboriginal communities. We acknowledge that setting a benchmark as part of First Nations participation plans for each of our projects will be an important step to achieve economic empowerment of First Nations people.
What approvals are required?
The proposal would be considered a State Significant Development and would require development consent under the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (EP&A Act). Three Development Applications (DAs) are proposed to be submitted, one for each component of the proposed project (wind, solar and BESS), which would be accompanied by detailed Environmental Impact Statements (EISs). These would include comprehensive assessments identifying the potential impacts of the Project and how to best manage these impacts. A detailed Social Impact Assessment (SIA) would also be prepared for each component of the project as part of the EISs.
The SIAs would include a comprehensive community engagement program and would be prepared following the NSW Department of Planning and Environment’s (DPE) Social Impact Assessment Guideline for State Significant Projects (2021). The Project may also require approval under the federal
Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
What is proposed
- Up to 34 wind turbine generators typically spaced 500-1000 meters apart and connected via underground cables.
- Modern wind turbines have a tower (hub) height up to 180 metres and blade length up to 100 metres.
- Photovoltaic (PV) panels mounted on single axis trackers that slowly rotate and follow the sun from east to west each day.
- A containerised BESS built within the wind and solar farm enabling electricity to be stored and then exported as needed.
- Noise and vibration
- Social impact assessment
- Visual amenity
- Shadow flicker
- Aboriginal heritage
- European heritage
- Traffic and access
- Flooding and hydrology
- Electromagnetic interference
- Land use
- Cumulative impacts
What is a Scoping Report?
A Scoping Report is the first step in the development application process. A Scoping Report provides an outline of the proposed project and identifies important issues that will require further technical studies, assessment and consultation, and is a formal request to the DPE to issue Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs). Separate Scoping Reports will be developed for each of the three technology components of the Project.
Who is developing the EISs and SIAs?
Spark Renewables has commissioned Umwelt Environmental and Social Consultants to undertake a series of preliminary environmental and technical assessments and to prepare the three Scoping Reports. Umwelt will be consulting with the community alongside Spark Renewables and Spectrum Communications to inform the preparation of the EISs and SIAs.
The NSW Government has a legislated planning process in eight stages to ensure that a project is suitable for the community, economy, and environment, and therefore whether it should be granted a development approval.
The proposed Wattle Creek Energy Hub project is in the early stages of development and will undergo rigorous planning and assessment. As part of this,
we will undertake extensive community consultation and encourage all stakeholders and community members to get involved in this process. This will
occur prior to formal development applications being submitted to planning authorities.
You are welcome to drop in to our first information session at any time to meet the Spark Renewables team, ask questions and learn about the proposed
Wattle Creek Energy Hub. We are hosting a face-to-face session at:
Marulan War Memorial Hall 80 George Street, Marulan, NSW, 2579
Thursday, 9th March 2023 between 2pm-7pm
- Call us at 1300 271 419
- Visit Facebook at facebook.com/wattlecreekenergyhub
- Sign up to community newsletters here.
- Complete a brief survey and give us your feedback here.