Winton solar proposal outlined

By Country News

A community forum was held at Winton Raceway on June 13 to discuss a proposal for yet another solar farm to be built in the area, north-east of Benalla.

Lightsource, which is also proposing a 60MW solar farm at Naring, hosted the event alongside its planning consultancy Urbis to outline its proposal to fund, develop and operate a 15MW solar installation on 28ha of land at 116 Lee Rd, Winton.

The event provided an opportunity for interested community members to learn more about the development proposal and to meet key stakeholder groups.

Those included the Regent Honeyeater Project and the Benalla Sustainable Futures Group.

Lightsource BP head of planning Penny Laurenson said the group wanted to ensure local communities in Winton, Benalla and surrounds were informed of plans to develop the project.

‘‘We wanted to provide a forum to give residents the opportunity to ask any questions they may have about the project or solar energy in general,’’ Ms Laurenson said.

Urbis associate director Kristi Jørgensen said the event was attended by a handful of local residents who raised relevant questions about the proposal.

‘‘Our team is very impressed with the way the community views important projects like this,’’ Ms Jørgensen said.

‘‘We have enjoyed this opportunity to start a conversation with people in the area.

‘‘We’ve completed the first stage of discussions having a clear understanding of what questions the community would like answered.’’

The forum was held in advance of the planning application being lodged with Benalla Rural City Council.

Lightsource BP and Urbis anticipate starting formal planning processes with council in the next four to six weeks.

If approved, the proposed solar farm will generate clean and renewable energy that would power 2330 local homes, saving 21582 tonnes of carbon emissions every year, the equivalent of taking 4621 cars off the roads.

As well as generating clean energy, the design will allow for sheep grazing beneath and between the rows of solar panels, in order to maintain agricultural purposes during operation.

■For more information or to provide feedback, contact Lightsource BP and Urbis via