New so­lar farm de­bate

Shepparton News - Country News - - FRONT PAGE -

An­other so­lar farm could be on its way, but it has to get through Cam­paspe Shire Coun­cil ap­proval and the back­lash it has re­ceived from nearby res­i­dents first.

The 30 MW struc­ture is be­ing pro­posed by Aus­tralian com­pany GloBird En­ergy on 45 ha across two lots on ei­ther side of Down­ing Rd, Stan­hope.

As well as the so­lar farm, GloBird hopes to con­struct a 100 MW stor­age bat­tery, at a to­tal project cost of $150 mil­lion.

‘‘The project will pro­duce 41 mil­lion kilo­watt-hours of green en­ergy per year, enough for 11 100 homes,’’ GloBird re­new­ables and dis­rup­tives man­ager Luke Scott said.

‘‘Vic­to­ria’s big­gest bat­tery would make this green en­ergy avail­able at any time. It will re­duce Vic­to­ria’s green­house gas emis­sions by ap­prox­i­mately 53 000 tonnes per year,’’ Mr Scott said.

‘‘The project is es­ti­mated to cre­ate 75 full­time jobs dur­ing con­struc­tion, two full-time jobs dur­ing op­er­a­tion, as well as part-time roles for site and cat­tle main­te­nance.

‘‘The project has al­ready cre­ated work for lo­cal part-time cat­tle­men and gar­den­ers, and leased land to a neigh­bour­ing farmer.

‘‘The two so­lar farms ap­proved at Lan­caster and Gir­garre and pos­si­ble farms at Shep­par­ton will change the grid.

‘‘None have stor­age. GloBird’s so­lar and stor­age site of­fers grid sup­port to Stan­hope, Kyabram, Rochester, Shep­par­ton and sur­round­ing ar­eas.’’

Some res­i­dents near the pro­posed lo­ca­tion, at 3799 Mid­land Hwy, Stan­hope, are at­tempt­ing to stop the project from go­ing ahead.

Tracey McArthur, who lives on Down­ing Rd, which is one of the pro­posed ac­cess roads, was con­cerned about the ex­tra traf­fic and noise that would be pro­duced dur­ing con­struc­tion.

‘‘The ap­pli­ca­tion states 40 heavy ve­hi­cle move­ments (a truck go­ing into and out of a prop­erty is con­sid­ered two move­ments) per week (to the site),’’ Ms McArthur said.

‘‘That’s (only) enough to get the bat­ter­ies in. All the es­ti­mates are laugh­able. It’s just a joke. It’s just ridicu­lous.’’

Mr Scott re­as­sured con­cerned res­i­dents that noise from the site would not outdo the level per­mit­ted by the EPA and that VicRoads re­quired traf­fic stud­ies, traf­fic man­age­ment plans and road main­te­nance as con­di­tions of its sup­port.

He also said the project would be de­signed to work with graz­ing and the agri­cul­tural land would re­main pro­duc­tive.

The ob­jec­tors have taken the mat­ter into their own hands by send­ing let­ters to Vic­to­rian Plan­ning Min­is­ter Richard Wynne, urg­ing him to call in this so­lar farm as he has done for the Greater Shep­par­ton pro­posals.

Cam­paspe Shire coun­cil­lors are ex­pected to vote on the project at a meet­ing in Oc­to­ber.

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