Plans to develop a 146MW solar farm on the outskirts of Bathurst in New South Wales have gone before the NSW Department of Planning and Environment for approval.
The Western Advocate reports that renewables developer Photon Energy Australia is proposing to build the solar plant in Brewongle, around seven kilometres south-east of Bathurst, and has set up a community engagement page to inform local residents about the project.
If the plans are approved, Photon says the installation is expected to take 18 months, with the power plant expected to be complete by the first quarter of 2019.
The Sydney-based, part-owned subsidiary of the Netherlands parent company has big plans for its home state, including a 316MW solar project near Gunning, in the south; the 220MW solar project that is under development in Suntop; and a 155MW solar project proposed for Gunnedah, in the north-east of NSW.
In comments last week, Photon said the proposal for Brewongle was being assessed by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE), rather than Bathurst Regional Council, due to its size.
However the Western Advocate reported last week that some controversy had arisen over the development of the solar farm after it was discovered that the proposed site – previously used for farming – was owned by relatives of local Bathurst MP Paul Toole.
Toole said any position he took on the solar farm would not be based on who owned the land but on concerns of the community.
“This is not about family. I’ve got a different view and this is about raising the community’s concerns,” he told the paper.