A solar farm powering over 2000 Collie homes has been approved by a Joint Development Assessment Panel.
Hadouken Pty Ltd made an application to the Shire of Collie to install the 20MW photovoltaic facility located at 323 Patstone Road earlier in the year but needed approval from a Joint Development Assessment Panel.
The panel comprised of three specialist members, who were appointed by the state government and two shire councillors who were appointed by council following each local government election process.
The application was approved at the public meeting late last month and will now proceed with lodging a building application.
Hadouken Pty Ltd managing director Ben Tan said he chose to put the farm in the Shire of Collie because coal was not a renewable energy source.
Shire of Collie President Sarah Stanley said the solar farm was an exciting time for the town.
“It’s an exciting time for the Shire as we work hard to diversify our economy from its traditional industries of coal mining and coal-fired power generation. It’s this kind of brand new thinking that we need to bring new industries to our town,” Cr Stanley said.
Collie-Preston MLA Mick Murray said it makes sense for the long-term.
“Locating a solar farm in Collie makes sense as part of long-term power transition planning. In real terms it will not create a great deal of jobs after construction, but I encourage projects that bring investment into town,” he said.
Southern Joint Development Assessment Panel Presiding Member Eugene Koltasz said the next step involved attaining a building licence to start development, but there were a number of conditions Hadouken Pty Ltd must comply with.
“Now what they do is they get all their detailed drawings together which is basically their building license in effect and that will allow them to start construction, but there are a number of conditions that they have to comply with as well during the course of constructing the facility,” he said.
If the farm hasn’t substantially commenced within two years then it will expire.
Throughout the meeting Mr Koltasz said a number of issues were raised including concerns about vehicle access onto Harris River Road lining up with the owners of the property across the road and the visual appearance.
A condition about the access to the site from Harris River Road was implemented, making the road adjacent to the existing vegetation line to stop any impact to the resident’s living across the road.
“There is a landscaping buffer but there was also a condition to install a earth bund, a mound of about 3m high to screen it a bit more,” Mr Koltasz said.