Solar farm gets the green light
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