South Energy reveals plans for Benger Solar Farm project

In the near future: South Energy has announced plans to build a solar farm in Benger, near Harvey. Photo: Supplied.
In the near future: South Energy has announced plans to build a solar farm in Benger, near Harvey. Photo: Supplied.

Renewable energy developer South Energy has revealed plans for a new solar farm in the South-West.

Through the proposed Benger Solar Farm project, South Energy is looking to install solar panels on farmland between Brunswick and Harvey.

Once completed, the solar farm will cover approximately 187 hectares of land.

South Energy held a community information session last month, with company representatives fielding questions from residents.

Concerns over the proposed location were raised during the event.

Last week, the company held one-on-one consultations to explain the Benger Solar Farm development plan.

They then delivered a presentation to the Rotary Club of Bunbury-Leschenault.

South Energy project manager Baifu Du said the site's flat, even land suited the proposal.

"The proposed Benger Solar Farm will provide various environmental benefits and help the entire country achieve its renewable energy target," he said.

"It will also benefit Benger and the South-West by creating local jobs and boosting the local economy, as hundreds of jobs will be involved during construction of the project.

"The project will resonate with Western Australia's announced Energy Transformation Target.

"It will also contribute to a more reliable electricity network for WA, as some of the ageing conventional coal-fired power station units gradually retire in the coming years."

With an installed capacity of 100 megawatts, the solar farm will bring power to approximately 35,000 households.

After gaining approvals, South Energy will begin construction next year. The company has planned for it to become fully operational in 2022.

About 250 direct and indirect jobs will be created during construction.

The company is also looking to set up a community investment program to distribute funds to local projects.

Shire of Harvey president Tania Jackson said South Energy's recent presentation to the council had been well received.

"Investment in our shire is always welcome," she said.

"The biggest issue revolves around finding the most appropriate place for it. We must not take up prime agricultural land.

"If the proposed area is deemed appropriate, we will welcome the project into our shire."

South Energy has yet to formally submit an application to the shire.

Energy Minister Bill Johnston is looking forward to seeing more renewable energy projects.

"One of the great things about the South-West is there's a lot of electric transmission infrastructure so we can integrate renewable projects here at a lower cost and obviously it gives opportunity for jobs in construction and ongoing maintenance," he said.

"There's lot of opportunity for renew energy here in the South-West."

What do you think of the solar farm proposal? email editor.bunburymail@fairfaxmedia.com.au to have your say.