Tech & Science : Victorian solar farm to generate enough electricity to power Melbourne's entire tram network - PressFrom - Australia
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Tech & Science Victorian solar farm to generate enough electricity to power Melbourne's entire tram network

06:11  20 july  2019
06:11  20 july  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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Victorian solar farm to generate enough electricity to power Melbourne's entire tram network© Provided by Australian Broadcasting Corporation Melbourne's tram network will be powered by solar. (Supplied)

A northern Victorian town will soon generate enough electricity to power Melbourne's entire tram network.

The 128-megawatt solar farm at Numurkah, north of Shepparton, took less than a year to build and will use more than 300,000 panels to power the city's trams.

It is one of two solar farms supplying renewable energy to the network, and will generate approximately 255,000 megawatt hours of electricity into the national grid each year.

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Victorian Minister for Energy Lily D'Ambrosio said the project was the largest in the state.

"The Numurkah solar farm will play an important role in supporting the transformation of our energy system towards clean, renewable energy and reaching our renewable energy target," Ms D'Ambrosio said.

Farm built in record time

Based just outside of Numurkah in the tiny town of Drumanure, the farm spans 500 hectares of land once used for cattle grazing and cropping.

The carbon emission reduction generated by the farm is the equivalent of taking 75,000 cars off the road or planting 390,000 trees.

The farm will also help power the Laverton steelworks, after a 15-year deal was struck by French renewable energy producer Neoen with energy company SIMEC ZEN.

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Large scale solar farms to be built in regional Victoria will help power Melbourne ' s tram network . The Victorian government will run a tender to build 75MW of new large scale solar farms , delivering 0 million in new capital investment and 300 jobs.

Neoen Australia managing director Louis de Sambucy said the farm had a lifespan of up to 30 years.

"It's a great achievement and has been done in record time — with the community we want to make the best use of the wind and solar resources," Mr Sambucy said.

"This (solar farm) is extremely efficient and is already providing above expectations, so it's in the top range in terms of size and efficiency."

Solar planning guidelines under scrutiny

Terry Court, from the Goulburn Valley Environment Group, said the Numurkah solar farm was a step forward, but the Victorian Government needed to invest further in renewables to meet its targets.

The Government has committed to renewable energy targets of 25 per cent by 2020, and 40 per cent by 2025.

Mr Court said he wanted to see a goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2040.

The launch of the Numurkah project comes amid fresh calls for the Victorian Government to decide the fate of three outstanding solar farm applications in the district.

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Grid-tied solar electricity (or solar photovoltaic electricity , “PV”) allows you to generate your home’ s electricity whenever the sun is out Image of the Maine Idyll Community Solar Farm in Falmouth, Maine. The solar - powered office of David Foley and Judy Berk is designed for passive solar gain.

Independent member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed was concerned because the three proposed farms — at Lemnos, Tallygaroopna and Tatura East — were located on prime irrigation land.

"We don't want these farms to go ahead on this land, and really encourage solar farms to be located close to the grid but not on land that could be used to food production," Ms Sheed told the ABC.

If approved, Ms Sheed said there would be less viable land in the region for food production.

"They're capable of being watered, developed, used for food and if we end up with solar farms, it's really taking them out of commission for 20 to 30 years," Ms Sheed said.

"The proposals are currently under consideration, but Victorian Minister for Planning Richard Wynne said he would not make a decision until solid guidelines were established.

Ms Sheed said the release of the guidelines had passed its deadline of June 30.

"There are important planning issues at stake here and all relevant government departments have now had an opportunity to have their input," she said.

"I hope the Government will be prepared to make the decision to reject the three outstanding applications and not be influenced by threats of legal action from multinational companies that could easily locate their solar developments in other, more suitable areas."

Ms D'Ambrosio said the process was continuing.

"I think it's important that we get it right, the guidelines that are under consideration will be the guidelines that will be in place for a number of years, and provide the necessary roadmaps for industry to understand where it can invest and the local conditions it needs to take into account," she said.

"It's really critical the government makes the right decision."

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