So­lar farm gets the green light

Shepparton News - Country News - - NEWS - By Rod­ney Woods

The Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment has an­nounced Neoen Aus­tralia as the ten­der win­ner for the $75 mil­lion so­lar farm at Dru­ma­nure, and Moira Shire Coun­cil ap­proved the plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion at its meet­ing last week.

Nu­murkah So­lar Farm will be lo­cated on two prop­er­ties along Wunghnu Rd east of Wunghnu, and is ex­pected to gen­er­ate up to 100 MW of elec­tric­ity for Vic­to­ria, in ad­di­tion to in­creas­ing the re­gion’s jobs by more than 100 dur­ing the con­struc­tion process.

Moira Shire Mayor Gary Cleve­land said the new use for the two farms, one that grows canola, the other ce­real crops, was go­ing to be a pos­i­tive for the com­mu­nity de­spite crop­ping land be­ing af­fected.

‘‘This is go­ing to ben­e­fit the com­mu­nity as a whole,’’ Cr Cleve­land said.

‘‘We are all look­ing for re­new­able en­ergy. It is tak­ing some agri­cul­tural land and putting it to a dif­fer­ent use.’’

State Mem­ber for Shep­par­ton Suzanna Sheed said the so­lar farm rep­re­sented grow­ing con­fi­dence in the Goul­burn Val­ley as an at­trac­tive lo­ca­tion for sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial in­vest­ment and an ideal place for re­new­able en­ergy projects.

‘‘It’s pleas­ing to see pri­vate en­ter­prise in­vest­ing so heav­ily in the elec­torate,’’ Ms Sheed said.

‘‘Shep­par­ton Dis­trict has so much to of­fer and this demon­strates real con­fi­dence in the re­gion as an ex­pand­ing hub of in­dus­try.’’

The pro­posal was not with­out de­trac­tors, with coun­cil re­ceiv­ing five ob­jec­tions from nearby land­hold­ers who were con­cerned about pos­si­ble changes to nearby roads, im­pact on na­tive plants and an­i­mals, and the vis­ual im­pact on the area.

Neoen Aus­tralia project man­ager Tim Kirk said the lo­ca­tion was per­fect for a so­lar farm, which could power up to 42 000 homes.

‘‘We have a good look at so­lar ir­ra­di­ance, that is the amount of sun­shine an area can ex­pect to re­ceive,’’ he said.

‘‘And it has to be close to an area that can ac­cept a large in­jec­tion of en­ergy.

‘‘We have some ma­jor nodes around here and that adds to a very strong con­nec­tion point.’’

The Nu­murkah So­lar Farm is due to be­gin con­struc­tion in Fe­bru­ary, with com­ple­tion set for Oc­to­ber next year.

Sunny out­look . . . Moira Shire Mayor Gary Cleve­land is a big sup­porter of a planned so­lar farm in the shire. Pic­ture: Barclay White

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