The Coal Trader

Whitehaven moves ahead in plan for local solar power generator

Whitehaven Coal is currently preparing a Development Application for a proposed $43 million solar photovoltaic electricity generation system (solar farm). The Whitehaven Solar Farm Project would be located adjacent to the existing Narrabri mine on Whitehaven land, approximately 25km south-east of Narrabri.

“The project would generate 26MW of electricity, helping the Narrabri mine to reduce the electricity it consumes from the grid,” Whitehaven said. “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 solar farm project would create around 65 jobs during peak construction, Whitehaven said.

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. 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 project will be considered under the NSW Government’s State Significant Development Application process.

“Whitehaven is committed to ongoing, comprehensive engagement with the community and stakeholders throughout the process,” the company said.

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. The Project Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be placed on public exhibition by the DPE in due course, which will provide further opportunities for questions and issues to be raised and addressed.