Broken Hill is Australia’s mining birthplace and it lends its initials BH to the Australian mining giant BHP. In January 2015, the so-called Silver City was added to the National Heritage list in part due to its mining industry.
Over the years, mining in Broken Hill has gone down, even the titular hill in Broken Hill has been mined away and as it disappeared, so did the mining jobs. There were around 30,000 people living in Broken Hill with 3,500 employed in the mines, but now, the population has gone down to 18,000 and approximately 500 of those work in mining.
Broken Hill was once a golden town for Australian mining, but now, it can claim to be one of the most renewable. On the outskirts lies a solar farm that covers an area equal to 75 Sydney Cricket Grounds. The 53 megawatt Broken Hill plant was built by AGL, and one of the two solar farms built in the outback of New South Wales. The other solar plant is the Nyngan plant with 102 megawatts. AGL’s Adam Mackett and the Broken Hill project manager credits the two farms with kick-starting the large-scale solar industry in Australia.
The plants were opened last January 2016 and were built with grants from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and with the support of the New South Wales government. With the grants, AGL was able to enter the large-scale solar industry and create a supply chain that is bringing the prices of solar farms down around the country.