A renewable energy facility generates electricity using sources such as hydropower, solar energy or wind energy connected to the electricity grid via the transmission or distribution network. Examples of a renewable energy facility include a hydrogen plant, hydroelectric power plant, solar farm or wind farm.
Battery energy storage systems, thermal energy storage systems, pumped hydro or hydrogen gas production may also be used to store the excess energy generated and supply it to the network during peak demand periods.
A renewable energy facility must be electrically safe.
Constructing a renewable energy facility or storage system involves high risk construction work and exposure to electrical risks that can cause serious injuries or death. There are risks from working on or near live parts of electrical installations, electrical equipment and working near overhead powerlines or underground electrical cables. These hazards may be due to:
- non-compliant or unsuitable installations or equipment
- poor working practices or supervision
- failure to provide safe work instructions
- failure to have suitable access and lock out procedures or barriers or exclusion zones
- failure of components
- lack of maintenance.
Persons conducting a business or undertaking must ensure the safety of every worker and visitor. This includes duties and responsibilities throughout the life cycle of a renewable energy facility or energy storage system; from the design and construction phases through to the operation, maintenance and decommissioning phases.
Performing electrical work
High voltage installations
High voltage electrical installations must be inspected by a Queensland accredited auditor before they are connected to a source of electricity.
Hazardous areas installations
Electrical installations in a hazardous area must be inspected by a Queensland accredited auditor before they are connected to a source of electricity.
A hydrogen plant uses hydrogen to produce electricity. Hydrogen can be produced from a variety of sources including renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power.
As a worker, you must:
- take reasonable care of your own safety as well as the safety of others
- take reasonable care that your acts or omissions do not adversely affect the electrical safety of other people or property
- use safe systems of work
- only do work you are licensed and competent to do
- cooperate with management to meet safety requirements and reduce risks.
Further guidance and information
- Electrical Safety Act 2002
- Electrical Safety Regulation 2013
- Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011
Codes of Practice
- Construction and operation of a solar farms code of practice 2019 (PDF, 0.92 MB)
- Managing electrical risks in the workplace code of practice 2021 (PDF, 1.25 MB)
- AS/NZS 3000:2018 Electrical installations (known as the Australian/New Zealand Wiring Rules)
- AS/NZS 3012:2019 Electrical Installations – Construction and Demolition Sites
- AS/NZS 5033:2021 and Installation and safety requirements for photovoltaic (PV) arrays
- AS/NZS 4777.1:2016 Grid connection of energy systems via inverters - Installation requirements