General News

Sheed disappointed by solar decisions

By Rodney Woods

Toolamba and Tatura could add to the ever-growing solar farm map as micro solar permits currently sit with the Greater Shepparton City Council.

Solar company Acenergy has plans for two sites at 1275 Craven Rd, Toolamba and 5923 Midland Hwy, Tatura, each of which will cover less than 10ha and produce 5MW of power.

If given the go-ahead, the Tatura proposal will take up part of a 40ha property, while the proposed Toolamba site is on a hobby farm.

The applications have been processed on behalf of the company by Chris Smith & Associates in Shepparton.

In other solar news, State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed has expressed her disappointment at the approval of the three controversial solar farm projects in Greater Shepparton.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne approved the applications at Lemnos, Tatura East and Tallygaroopna on August 23, much to the anger of objectors to the three sites.

“Few would argue against the merits of new solar farms, but these farms are in the wrong place," Ms Sheed said.

“It’s a big state — we have a lot of land far more suitable to the establishment of these kind of projects, land that has not been improved in terms of irrigation infrastructure at considerable expense and land that is not highly suitable for agriculture.”

Conceding there are some benefits to the approvals, Ms Sheed said she hoped in future the Victorian Government would stick to its own rules, and expected the City of Greater Shepparton to do the same.

“Six hundred new jobs is a silver lining on this cloud, as is the prospect of 175 megawatts of sustainable energy being fed into the grid, but surely this result could have been achieved in a different location in our region,” Ms Sheed said.

“I call on the Andrews Government to ratify the guidelines immediately so there is certainty going forward for farmers, energy providers and planners in where future solar farms will be approved.”