Built on a foundation of trust and shared value, we seek to develop relationships with communities that create enduring and positive impact. Here are some of the things we are doing and have proposed to implement for Birriwa Solar following project approval.
- ACEN Australia Social Investment Program (SIP) available to the Gulgong and surrounding community. This is ACEN Australia’s voluntary contribution available now and into construction of the project.
- Planning Agreement with Mid-Western Regional Council, commencing at construction of the project through the end of the project life. Likely to consist of a payment to an equivalent value of 1.5% of the project’s capital expenditure to Council for the purpose of delivering and facilitating community projects and infrastructure
- Through the payment of Access Fees to the NSW Government for access rights to planned and new network infrastructure within the Central-West Orana REZ, ACEN will make significant financial contributions to the NSW Government for investment into communities within the CWOREZ
- Neighbour agreements so that eligible properties receive a direct benefit
- Commitment to responsibly decommission project infrastructure at the end of project life
- Solar panel rows and heights allows for grazing to co-exist
- Commitment to prioritise the participation of Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to deliver goods and services
- Commitment to product stewardship through environmental and social procurement that encourage circular economy outcomes
- Addressing housing affordability and availability through a proposed temporary workers accommodation facility
- Commitment to First Nations participation through areas such as contracting, employment, training and business innovation
- Commitment to Learning Worker participation through areas such as traineeships and apprenticeships
- Commitment to using local content for construction materials from Australia or New Zealand
Social Investment Program
ACEN Australia’s Social Investment Program (SIP) is our voluntary contribution available now and into construction of the project. Funding is available to not-for profit organisations and activities that directly benefit and enhance the liveability and vibrancy of Gulgong and surrounding communities.
The expected peak construction workforce for Birriwa Solar is 500. To limit the use of short-stay and/tourist accommodation in the region, ACEN Australia is planning to a build temporary workers accommodation facility to service Birriwa Solar, and potentially other ACEN Australia projects in the CWOREZ. The facility is proposed on the south-eastern side of Barneys Reef. It would be located approximately 1km south of EnergyCo’s Merotherie hub.
This option will:
- Limit the impact on regional housing availability and affordability
- Enable the region’s thriving tourism industry to flourish
- Offer contracting and employment opportunities for local providers for the construction and servicing of a facility
- Maintain the current social fabric of communities, including security and traffic by limiting the majority workforce to one location
- Offer a positive health and well-being experience for workers through appropriate accommodation design
- Potentially provide local government or other entities with accommodation facilities that can be re-used to meet community needs in the future
Jobs and business
We have a commitment to employ and buy locally where we can so we can keep the benefits local. With such a significant construction investment, it is anticipated that there will be many opportunities for regional businesses to be involved. Goods and services likely to be procured locally include:
First Nations participation
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.
Central -West Orana community impacts and benefits
We are planning several projects in the NSW Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone (CWOREZ) in the coming years and we are working with stakeholders and communities to balance the impacts and opportunities that a growing renewable energy industry can bring. We want to maximise local employment and business opportunities and deliver the most appropriate accommodation solutions for our workforces. Our preference and priority is to employ locally first, however current skills and labour shortages are a considerable barrier in achieving this.