Locals react to Baringhup solar farm approval

A Baringhup farmer has criticised the failure of the state planning minister to inform objectors that a solar farm has been approved for the area in recent days.
Long-time local Peter Baker was among multiple residents who had formally objected to the solar farm proposed for a 230-hectare site at Baringhup West Road – and made a submission to the state’s Planning Panels Victoria hearing last year.
Late last week an RES company insider confirmed for the Midland Express that the minister Richard Wynne had granted approval for the project.
The planning minister’s decision paves the way for the installation of 260,000 solar panels over the site with the farm expected to generate enough power for 34,000 households each year.
“I reckon it’s a deplorable state of affairs when the objectors haven’t been notified,” Mr Baker told the Express.
Mr Baker has stated that while not opposed to clean energy projects, he, like other Baringhup locals who objected, believed the site for this project was inappropriate, largely due to its value as prime agricultural land.
“The first I knew of it was a phone call on New Year’s Eve that alerted me to a media report,” said Mr Baker who also criticised the timing of the decision.
“We haven’t been notified. We’ve got nothing, so until we receive notification and we know of the terms and conditions we can’t comment further.”
Operator of Baringhup’s Loddon House Holiday Park, Robert Wilson, was also among objectors and said he retained concerns about the solar farm including potential environmental impacts and disposal of solar panels once they’d exhausted their useful life.
“When I made a presentation to the panel I raised concerns regarding the 260,000 panels and what happens when they expire in 25 years. What are they going to do with all these panels?
“When you consider this farm is going up on prime agricultural land, we hope to recover it in 25 years. We don’t want it to be a tip,” Mr Wilson said.
“It’s very, very close to us.”
The 75-megawatt farm is also expected to include a 37MW battery and comes as the state scrambles to transition from coal-powered generation to clean energy and lower carbon emissions amid heightened public awareness of climate change and its impacts.
Mr Wynne had earlier been reported as stating that the decision to approve the Baringhup solar farm was made after thorough consideration of community feedback and advice from independent advisory panel Planning Panels Victoria.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

10 − 3 =

error: Content is protected !!