South Energy presents Benger Solar Farm proposal to Shire of Harvey

The proposed location for the Benger Solar Farm Project. Photo: Supplied.
The proposed location for the Benger Solar Farm Project. Photo: Supplied.

Renewable energy developer South Energy is looking to build a new, sustainable solar farm within the Greater Bunbury region.

The proposed project will cover about 187 hectares of farmland in Benger, between Harvey and Brunswick.

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

South Energy held a community information session in July, before conducting one-on-one consultations last month.

Several residents raised concerns over the proposed location.

The company then presented a development approval application to the Shire of Harvey's Development Services Committee.

At its meeting on Tuesday, August 27, the council voted to put the plans through for public advertising.

Shire president Tania Jackson said they would take the company's desires and the community's concerns into consideration.

"We want to make sure the project will not have any impact on neighbouring communities or prime agricultural land," she said.

South Energy project manager Baifu Du said it would provide numerous short-term and long-term benefits for the area.

"I am impressed by, and appreciative of, the fact that our proposed application was able to move into the advertising stage in such a relatively short period of time," he said.

"In my opinion, I can see two messages out of this outcome: i) our hard work in preparing a comprehensive planning application package paid dividends and was recognised; and ii) the shire is supportive of the proposal as they can see the various benefits this prospective project could bring to the community and the region.

"We won't take this for granted, and will continue to work very hard during the next phase."

After gaining approvals, the company will seek to begin construction next year. They estimate the project could become fully operational in 2022.

Energy Minister Bill Johnston confirmed the State Government has launched its Energy Transformation Strategy, with a Whole of System Plan to understand future electricity demand and opportunities for generation across the South-West.

What do think of the Benger Solar Farm proposal? Email editor.bunburymail@fairfaxmedia.com.au.