So­lar ex­ten­sion feed­back sought

Benalla Ensign - - News -

One of the lat­est so­lar de­vel­op­ments in the Be­nalla Ru­ral City area is set to be ex­tended, and op­er­a­tors are keen for some com­mu­nity feed­back.

Light­source BP, along with Ur­bis and Ur­ban Unity, the con­sul­tancy team ap­pointed to un­der­take en­vi­ron­men­tal plan­ning and com­mu­nity en­gage­ment, is host­ing a com­mu­nity in­for­ma­tion event in Win­ton on Au­gust 28.

At the con­sul­ta­tion they will out­line their pro­posal to ex­tend their ap­proved 15 MW Mokoan So­lar Farm at Lee Rd, Win­ton, with an ad­di­tional 30 MW on a block of land at Nelson Rd, Win­ton.

The 15 MW project was ap­proved by Be­nalla Ru­ral City Coun­cil in Jan­uary fol­low­ing com­mu­nity en­gage­ment last year.

Light­source BP wishes to give res­i­dents and in­ter­ested par­ties an op­por­tu­nity to find out more about the ap­proved project, this pro­posed ex­ten­sion and the com­pany.

As well as developing sites, Light­source BP man­ages the so­lar farms through­out their en­tire life­cy­cle, and as part of that longterm ap­proach, hopes to es­tab­lish a good re­la­tion­ship with its neigh­bours.

Light­source BP Aus­tralia coun­try man­ager Adam Pegg said he was ea­ger to meet with the com­mu­nity.

‘‘This com­mu­nity in­for­ma­tion evening is an op­por­tu­nity for us to present our plans and re­search to the lo­cal com­mu­nity, and to have an open and trans­par­ent dis­cus­sion with res­i­dents,’’ Mr Pegg said.

‘‘We’re host­ing the event to open up a two-way dis­cus­sion about the project — we’ll be pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion on why this par­tic­u­lar area has been cho­sen, as well as the nu­mer­ous ben­e­fits of our pro­posal.’’

The event will be held at the Mokoan Hub and Cafe´ at Win­ton Wet­lands on Wed­nes­day, Au­gust 28.

Peo­ple can drop in any time be­tween 3 pm and 7 pm to speak to rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the project team.

The so­lar in­stal­la­tion ex­pan­sion would have a ca­pac­ity of about 30 MW, gen­er­at­ing enough clean and re­new­able en­ergy to power 9500 house­holds and save 45 400 tonnes of car­bon emis­sions ev­ery year, the equiv­a­lent of re­mov­ing 16 400 cars from the road.

The con­struc­tion of the pro­posed in­stal­la­tion would also cre­ate about 150 skilled con­struc­tion jobs in the re­gion, as well as two on­go­ing roles dur­ing op­er­a­tion.

This pro­posed ex­ten­sion will con­nect into the ex­ist­ing Glen­rowan Ter­mi­nal Sta­tion on the op­po­site side of the Hume Hwy via the ap­proved Mokoan So­lar Farm. With the ex­ten­sion, the project would gen­er­ate a to­tal of 45MW.

Since the state govern­ment has com­mit­ted to a tar­get of 50 per cent re­new­able en­ergy gen­er­a­tion by 2030, the in­stal­la­tion Light­source BP is propos­ing, and oth­ers like it, will make an im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tion to this tar­get.

The pro­posal has been de­signed to re­tain ex­ist­ing veg­e­ta­tion, where prac­ti­ca­ble.

The so­lar farm is also de­signed to al­low for sheep graz­ing be­neath and be­tween the rows of pan­els, pre­serv­ing an agri­cul­tural co-use, along­side so­lar en­ergy gen­er­a­tion.

Light­source BP so­lar in­stal­la­tions can also sup­port bee keep­ing, which has been shown to in­crease bio­di­ver­sity, and may be an ad­di­tional couse for the land in the fu­ture.

Res­i­dents can ob­tain fur­ther in­for­ma­tion on the project, at any time, by get­ting in touch with the Light­source BP and the Ur­bis project team at mokoan­con­sul­ta­tion@ur­bis.

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