Planning approval has been obtained for a 20MW solar farm that will power a data centre and crypto-currency mining in the coal-mining centre of Collie in Western Australia.
The application for the solar farm was made by Hadouken Pty Ltd, a company owned by local energy entrepreneur Ben Tan, who has also been involved in a company called Tesla Holdings (no relation to the Elon Musk Tesla), and a Nasdaq-listed solar farm developer VivoPower.
The project was approved by the Joint Development Assessment Panel on Tuesday, and is located near a sub-station on a rural property about 2kms north of Collie, the home of the state’s biggest coal generator, Muja.
The planning approval also includes the possibility of installing battery storage at a later date.
According to Business News, the output of the solar farm will used to used to mine “crypto-currencies” such as Bitcoin and others. The process of “mining” is an energy intensive process as it requites considerable computer and data resources.
Tan told the web-site the Collie was an excellent spot for a solar farm because of its good solar resources, and to help the transition away from coal.
The project is one of a number of large scale solar projects under construction or proposed in the state.
The 20MW Emu Downs solar farm was recently completed, the 10MW Northam solar farm is under construction and a 30MW extension to the Greenough River solar farm is also proposed.
There is also a 30MW solar farm at Byford, two 100MW plus solar farms proposed and a 50MW solar farm near Kalgoorlie.
There were numerous objections to the Collie project from local residents, one describing a solar farm as an “ugly scar” on the landscape, another couple saying could not comprehend why the shire council would want to encourage solar farms in the area.
“When all the coal mines are struggling to survive, and here we have a company going to put power into the grid using solar panels, hence threatening our mines and their production.”