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As a company seeking to harness wind, solar and water resources for energy today, we reflect on the contributions made by First Nations over thousands of years. We recognise the value of a better understanding of Aboriginal history and culture, and commit to meaningful participation with First Nations groups to support the protection of country, culture, and the development of their aspirations.

Just as the Anaiwan people in the NSW’s New England region have been doing for thousands of years, today ACEN Australia seeks to harness the sun’s resources using new technologies. Our New England Solar project is being built with the support of the Anaiwan First Nations people who have been a part of the project since the beginning. The relationship has evolved into a model that is providing meaningful opportunities for First Nations to participate in, and share in the benefits that Australia’s growing renewable energy industry offers. Equally, this relationship has given ACEN Australia the opportunity to improve our knowledge and understanding of history, culture and achievements, working towards our shared commitment to contribute to reconciliation in Australia. 

Caring for country

When field survey works started as part of the approvals process for New England Solar, it was understood by the Anaiwan people that the area Ooralla had been used for thousands of years as an important meeting place for Aboriginal people. It was during these survey works that a number of cultural sites and items were discovered. One of these being a significant Grinding Groove site where it is believed Aboriginal people gathered to learn from each other, celebrate events and trade. The site offers enormous opportunity for cultural knowledge building and as such, it being preserved. Importantly though, access to the site for the life of the solar project so that the Anaiwan can access it for decades to come.

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Investment in First Nations business innovation to help grow and up skill

Awarding of fencing and vegetation management contracts to local Indigenous businesses.

Building a cultural knowledge base

Delivery of cultural awareness sessions by local First Nations groups for the project construction workforce.

A collection of cultural stories

At the request of the Anaiwan, a short documentary film capturing Aboriginal cultural values of the Ooralla region along with cultural items identified where the New England Solar project is located has been produced. The film captures stories from Aboriginal representatives and was produced to share knowledge and raise awareness of Aboriginal cultural values in the region. 

Representing one of the largest Indigenous renewable energy initiatives in Australia, in 2023 ACEN announced a partnership with Yindjibarndi Traditional Owners to develop, own and build renewable energy projects on the traditional country of the Yindjibarndi people in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.  

“It is the perfect blend of traditional significance and modern technology, designed to harness the limitless potential of the Pilbara’s sun and wind, while respecting the deep-rooted connection of the Yindjibarndi people with their land. Together, we are crafting an energy future that is not only renewable, but also renewing, by empowering local communities and contributing to a greener future.”

ACEN International CEO Patrice Clausse

Future Endeavours

For our Stubbo Solar project, this artwork was commissioned by contemporary Aboriginal artist and Mowgee / Wiradjuri man Rick Slaven. This is Rick’s story of the artwork.

Future Endeavours is the journey of a new future of renewable energy growing on Wiradjuri country using the power of the sun to turn into energy to allow us to grow and thrive alongside mother earth. The centre of the piece shows the elements of the sun surrounded by stars throwing out its rays of light for life to thrive. The red flashes throughout are the reminder of the suns journey. The bottom right corner I have shown the mountains which have been part of our song lines for safe passage all over Wiradjuri country plus giving us water run off to fill our rivers and swamps to give us a continuous cycle of essential requirement for life. The bottom left I have represented agriculture showing the crops, of grain cotton and wool all relying on power now and in the future. The bottom middle I have symbolised the Stubbo Solar farm sitting in the new landscape of Wiradjuri country catching and storing the power of the sun. The patterns inside the panels represents the story and journey forward as this is the beginning of a new united journey for us all.

Rick Slaven – Contemporary Wiradjuri Artist