Frequently Asked Questions
To download the FAQ document please click here, alternatively you can find the information below.
What is the Project Status?
The Project has been granted development approval.
Who is EPS Energy?
EPS Energy is an Australian-owned and based renewable energy company providing relevant expertise for the creation and development of solar and wind projects in Australia. EPS Energy develops renewable energy projects at the commercial, industrial and utility scale. EPS Energy is the development manager for the Solar Project (the Project).
What is the Project?
The Project is a newly proposed large utility scale solar photovoltaic plant with battery storage to feed into the National Electricity Market.
Why is the Project proposed to be located where it is?
On behalf of Bungama Solar, EPS Energy undertook an extensive solar site identification assessment across the Eastern Australian National Electricity Network examining potential project areas based on several criteria including:
Proximity to electrical substations;
Access to existing electrical substations and capacity of each substation to accept new generation;
Marginal loss factors and future forecasts;
Consideration of known solar projects proximate to a proposed project area and the potential for impact on capacity and connection;
Agreements with landowners to host a project;
Utilised land such as land used for agricultural land uses to reduce the likelihood of the solar development encountering significant areas of native vegetation, Aboriginal cultural heritage items or other environmental constraints;
Environmental analysis of ecology, archaeology and potential environmental constraints including flooding;
Favourable topography and geotechnical conditions for constructing and operating a solar development;
Proximity to towns but equally enough distance between the site and urban populated areas;
Suitable infrastructure surrounding the project area e.g. roads access for construction and operation of a solar development;
NEM capacity, grid strength and the ever-increasing market demand for renewable energy;
Favourable response from enquires with the Transmission Network Service Provider (ElectraNet); and
Details on interstate connectors and relevant known transmission constraints.
Why is the Project being developed?
South Australia’s mix of energy supply sources is rapidly evolving with coal-fired power generation ceasing in South Australia and the percentage of energy, in particular electricity generation, being sourced from renewable energy. Broadly, South Australia recognises that high levels of solar and wind together with other forms of generation and the right grid stability services can safely deliver affordable and sustainable power. The Project will contribute to the delivery of affordable power from renewable energy. Development of large scale generation assets within South Australia will increase competition for dispatching power to the South Australian grid and hence assist in reducing electricity prices over the long term. The Project will meet approximately 1% of the Federal Government’s objective to achieve an additional 33GW of electricity from renewable sources by 2020 under the Renewable Energy Target. The generating capacity of the Project is equivalent to:
Reducing ~497,000 tonnes of GHG emissions each year;
Powering ~86,400 homes each year;
Taking ~195,900 cars off the road;
Planting ~69,500 trees.
How far along is the Project in being approved and what is the Project timeline?
The Project has been granted approval by the State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP). The Project is not completing pre-construction works.
How many jobs will be created and will you source them locally?
EPS Energy has and will continue to engage South Australian consultants to undertake the studies and investigations that will inform the Project including the design. Similarly, EPS Energy will engage the local workforce for construction and maintenance wherever appropriate. The construction phase will generate the most employment opportunities with approximately 275 equivalent full time jobs. The operation phase will generate approximately 8 full time equivalent jobs over the lifetime of the Project. There will be opportunities for local engagement and employment for a variety of services and equipment required to construct the Project, for example, site preparation services, construction material supplies, structure assembly, electrical services, panel installation and general labour services. Employing local services is mutually beneficial as it provides opportunities for locals to be involved in the Project in a remunerated capacity and it is substantially more cost-effective for the Project development, as it negates the need for additional costs that external workers would ensue, including travel and lodging.
What is meant by “Local Community Fund”?
A Local Community Fund is proposed as an annual financial contribution for the life of the Project. The Community Fund is intended for the local community who are hosting the Project to assist with funding environmental, social and economic development opportunities for the community. More details about the Local Community Fund, including the amount and management of the fund, will be developed as the Project progresses.
Is the Project permanent?
The Project is expected to operate for about 30 years with further consideration to extending the life of the Project to be given at that time. Decommissioning and restitution of the land will occur at the Project life end. As the installation process is relatively non-invasive and does not involve mass excavation, rehabilitation upon decommissioning will be straight-forward and will leave the land in a very similar condition to pre-development. Upon decommissioning, all infrastructure is removed and the land is returned to its original state and available for the permissible activities including agricultural activities.
When will construction start and how long will it last?
Subject to the relevant approvals, construction could begin in 2020, and typically may take approximately 28 months to develop and commission.
How do solar farms work?
The Project will create energy from the sunlight via photovoltaic (PV) cells contained within the panels that will most likely be mounted on single-axis tracking systems. A row of solar panels is referred to as a string and together a series of strings form a solar array. Tracking solar panel systems involves strings following the sun’s movement from east to west throughout the day for maximum collection of solar irradiation. At the end of the day the panels track back to the east ready for the next day. The sun that is absorbed through the solar panels will be converted into direct current (DC) electricity by a series of PV cells. The PV cells are connected in strings to an inverter, which converts DC electricity into the more easily transported alternating current (AC). The inverters are connected to a voltage step up transformer to produce higher voltages ready for connection to the grid. The inverters are connected through underground cables to a switching yard and by transmission lines to the substation for connection to the South Australian electrical grid. AC is supplied to most houses and used in most household appliances. Battery storage is proposed as part of the Project and will provide additional power system security for the South Australian grid.
I’ve never seen a solar farm in person, what does it look like?
The proposed solar panel array will have a relatively low-profile and be uniform and therefore the Project is not expected to have a significant visual impact. The highest limit of the panel system, dependent on the final system installed, would range between 2-4m. The visual perception of the solar project changes with distance and elevation. With either or both of these elements changing, the visual view field of the observer increases and a greater background view is generally obtained which absorbs the view of the solar farm into the wider scenic picture. Single-axis tracking systems are constructed in arrays orientated north-south. The panels rotate from east to west throughout the day. When viewing the system at ground-level, from north or south the view is along the string lines of panels, which represents a uniform series of rows. A useful visual representation of these rows can be likened to the layout of grape vines in a vineyard. When viewed from the east or west, the side view of the string of panels is observed and typically a person on flat ground would not see further than a few rows at the panel height and have a clear view under the panels.
Will there be a buffer zone between the Project and neighbouring properties? If so what will the buffer zone consist of?
The proposal includes in excess of 7 km of visual buffering in the form of landscape screening.
This visual buffer varies in depth between 10m and 50m in targeted areas, for example adjacent to major roads or dwellings. The visual buffer is proposed to incorporate vegetation screening at a depth of approximately 10m and a height of up to 5m. It is proposed to use vegetation species that are both suitable to the local climate and provide appropriate screening qualities.