$195M solar farm bid

A $195 million solar farm proposed for Baringhup will feed enough energy into the grid to power 44,000 homes while reducing CO2 emissions by 170,000 tonnes annually if it goes ahead, the project’s proponents say.
RES Australia, the company behind the proposed 75 megawatt solar farm, is holding a public information session about the proposal at Baringhup later this month.
Set for Wednesday July 25 at the Baringhup Hall, the 3-7pm session is also a chance for locals to shape the company’s planning as it looks to submit planning applications in coming months, RES Project Development Assistant Laudie van den Bogaert says.
“We are proposing a 75 megawatt solar farm which is approximately 260,000 solar panels,” Ms van den Bogaert told the Midland Express.
“Basically it will have the capacity to supply approximately 44,000 homes and reduce CO2 missions by 170,000 tonnes per year.”
RES is looking to establish the solar farm on a 300-hectare parcel of land 2km west of Baringhup, within Mount Alexander Shire boundaries.
With an anticipated lifetime of about 30 years, the farm would use ground-mounted panels with associated access tracks, a substation, operation and maintenance building, electrical cabling and fencing.
Ms van den Bogaert says the project has a capital expenditure value of $195 million and would likely take 12 months to build, with 130 jobs created during construction – and three ongoing jobs once in operation.
“The project is in the assessment phase. Environmental impact surveys are ongoing at the moment so we are looking at surface water, landscape and visual impact, transport, ecology, glint and glare, the economic benefits,” Ms van den Bogaert says.
“It’s early stages. We’re looking to get views from the community to inform our development. We are looking to submit the development application in the next few months with state and local government. We’re speaking to local and state governments.”
Headquartered in England, RES (Renewable Energy Systems) is the multinational renewable energy company behind Ararat’s 240MW wind farm and is described on its own website as the world’s largest independent renewable energy company.
Ms van den Bogaert says that if it gets the green light the proposed Baringhup solar farm would create flow-on benefits for the wider local economy with the company aiming to use local contractors and businesses as a first port of call.
“It is a great development and we are luckily in a good market space that is going forward towards more renewable energy, and the fact that investors and banks are interested in these projects is very supportive and good for our renewable future,” she says.
RES Australia is making more information about the Baringhup proposal available at www.baringhup-solarfarm.com

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