The Project

Location

 (source: SIXMAPS NSW Govt 2018)

The proposed Carisbrook Solar Farm site is located about 13 kilometres east of Maryborough and 50 kilometres south-west of Bendigo. The closest township is Carisbrook, located about six kilometres west of the site, within the Central Goldfields Shire. The southern boundary of the site borders the Pyrenees Highway. The proposal is located on private land.

Summary

The proposed Carisbrook Solar Farm would have a capacity of about 90 MW (DC) and produce 150,000 gigawatt hours of power each year – enough to power a city close to the size of Bendigo.

It would include:

  • Single axis tracker photovoltaic solar panels, mostly mounted on steel frames.
  • Battery storage.
  • Electrical conduits and transformers.
  • Site office, access tracks and perimeter fencing.
  • Electrical connection works including an easement to connect to the existing 66 kv power line located on the north-west edge of the site.

We are working with VicRoads to design site access from the Pyrenees Highway directly to the site so we can minimise using the gravel Bald Hill Road. Our traffic plan will need to be approved by Council and will implement options to minimise noise, dust and disruption during construction. Secondary access will be provided during the construction and operation of the solar farm in the north-west corner of the site, allowing access to the solar farm switching yard.

The site was selected because it provides:

  • Excellent solar irradiance;
  • Level terrain for cost effective construction;
  • Access to the exisiting electrical distribution network;
  • Excellent access to local and major roads; and;
  • A largely cleared site which has been used for cultivation and cropping, therefore creating a low level of environmental impact.

site-overview

The map below illustrates the broader site boundary available for development [red] with the shaded section showing the area under consideration for the solar farm. The yellow line illustrates the proposed transmission line route to the existing 66 kv transmission line [black].

The PV panels (photovoltaics) and inverters would be similar to those installed throughout Australia on residential and commercial properties. The panels would sit on steel frames attached to pile driven supports, causing minimal disturbance to the land and allowing sheep to continue to graze in and around them once the solar farm is operational.

There would also be battery storage capability to enable energy generated during the day to be stored for later use (during the evening peak period and when the electrical grid network most needs it).

Benefits

ENVIRONMENTAL

The Carisbrook Solar Farm will produce about 150,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy per year, enough to power 44,000 homes or a city close to the size of Bendigo.

CLIMATE CHANGE

The Commonwealth Government cites electricity generation as the largest individual contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia. Australia is a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Paris Agreement and the Kyoto Protocol. These agreements commit Australia to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Both the VictorianNSW and Australian Governments have developed renewable energy targets.

The Carisbrook Solar Farm would contribute to the Commonwealth Government’s objective to achieve an additional 33GW of electricity from renewable sources by 2020 under the Renewable Energy Target.

The COP21, also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, achieved a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C, chiefly by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Carisbrook Solar Farm would form part of the Australian effort to help meet this target.

The Carisbrook Solar Farm would contribute to the Victorian Renewable Energy Plan, which supports the national target of 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020.

ELECTRICITY SUPPLY

AEMO forecasts that grid‐supplied electricity consumption will remain flat for the next 20 years, despite a projected 30 per cent growth in population. Although not currently required to meet projected electricity demand, the proposal would benefit the network by shifting electricity production closer to local consumption and regulating inputs to the grid using an Energy Storage Facility.

The Energy Storage Facility would incorporate banks of lithium-ion batteries, which would be capable of storing energy for release when the use or cost is beneficial. It would include network services that would allow energy to be stored during periods of low demand and then discharged during periods of high demand.

Employment

Up to 240 jobs will be created during the peak construction period, which we expect to take between seven and nine months. We expect that up to 60 per cent of these workers will be from the local area. The full construction period, however, will likely be between 12 and 14 months. There will be local job opportunities for civil works, concrete works, fencing, landscaping and businesses in the area providing accommodation, catering, trades and other services and supplies. In addition to direct employment, flow on local supply chain opportunities include fuel supply, vehicle servicing, uniform suppliers, hotels/motels, B&Bs, cafés, pubs, catering and cleaning companies, tradespersons, tool and equipment suppliers and many other service and supply businesses.