RES, the world’s largest independent renewable energy company, has secured planning consent for a 75MW solar farm two kilometres west of Baringhup, Victoria. The project will generate clean power for the equivalent of more than 44,000 homes.
Despite 2018-19 being a record year for renewable energy generation in Victoria, ensuring a consistent pipeline of clean energy projects remains crucial if Victoria is to reach its state energy target of 50% renewables by 2030.
“Renewables are a key part of Australia’s energy strategy, and swiftly deploying significant solar and wind capacity is the only way to reach state targets such as the 50% renewables goal set by Victoria” said Matt Rebbeck, CEO of RES in Australia. “Developing new clean energy projects can be challenging and the RES project team is able to leverage our significant experience gained in Australia and across our international markets to see this project through to planning consent and beyond.”
The Baringhup Solar Farm will comprise 260,000 solar panels across 300 hectares of land, and a 37MWh on-site battery storage facility. RES commissioned a number of experts to assess the impact of the solar farm on the local area, including studies and assessments of visual effects, glint and glare, surface water, flora and fauna and economic benefits. The Department of Land, Water and Planning considered all these assessments in approving the project.
The project will support at least 130 construction jobs and provide a boost to the local economy. Economic benefits are expected across the service industry, retail sector, and construction supply chain. Opportunities for permanent employment are also available for three people to support the ongoing management and operations of the solar farm. In addition, a project Community Benefit Fund will offer a one-off payment of $125,000 to the local community, payable at the start of construction. This fund will be managed locally and used to support local projects, community groups and organisations. Input will be sought from the community to inform and shape how the fund could be implemented.
Baringhup Solar Farm complements RES’ portfolio of solar and wind farms across Victoria, including the RES developed 240MW Ararat Wind Farm, the 226MW Murra Warra 1 Wind Farm and the upcoming 209MW Murra Warra 2 Wind Farm. RES also delivers construction and asset management services to the 220MW Lal Lal Wind Farm.
RES will be communicating with the local community in the near future on plans for the next stages of the Solar Farm development and construction.