Prairie solar farm

The Project

Located in Victoria’s Loddon Shire near the township of Mitiamo, Prairie Solar Farm is a renewable energy project being proposed by Pacific Hydro.

The site is highly suitable for the efficient capture of energy from the sun. The region boasts one of the best solar resources in Victoria, receiving an average of 1,792 kilowatt-hours of sunlight per square metre each year.

The project site also has great potential for connection to nearby high voltage electricity transmission lines, making it possible to export the electricity generated to Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM).

Pacific Hydro lodged a planning application for the project with Loddon Shire Council on 28 June 2018. A Notice of Decision was issued by the Council on 11 December 2018. The permit application documentation may be viewed here.

We want to involve and engage the community and key stakeholders so that local perspectives, concerns, and preferences are understood and considered by the project.

The Technology

The energy in sunlight can be converted into electricity using solar photovoltaic (PV) technology. This method uses panels made of particular materials (mainly silicon) which generate electricity when exposed to light.

PV technology is currently used by households and businesses across Australia. If used on a larger scale, it can be used to generate large volumes of electricity.

By harvesting electricity from a free, abundant source such as sunlight, the Prairie project will contribute toward state and federal emissions reduction and renewable energy targets.

Key Aspects

Prairie Solar Farm is expected to have a generating capacity of up to 240 Megawatts, enough to power approximately 120,000 homes. The project may be constructed in several stages.

Some of the key characteristics of the Prairie site that make it very suitable include:

  • flat terrain with minimal trees and vegetation;
  • rural land, with some areas occasionally used for livestock grazing;
  • strong potential to connect to the National Electricity Market (NEM);
  • Good connections to the surrounding transport network.

Local Benefits

Pacific Hydro has a strong track record of delivering lasting social, environmental, and economic benefits to the local communities in which our projects are located. These include:

  • a significant number of direct jobs during construction
  • generating local economic activity during construction and operations
  • opportunities for local businesses and suppliers
  • support for community-led projects and initiatives
  • payment of rates

The project is expected to deliver a boost to the local economy with more than 200 workers required onsite during construction.

Up to 7 permanent jobs will be required to ensure the effective operation of the solar farm; with further contractor opportunities also anticipated.

Business Opportunities

Local suppliers and contractors may also be engaged for the construction and delivery of the project wherever possible; and are encouraged to register their interest and capabilities with us.

These jobs will help to diversify local skills and economic output for the region, complementing the agricultural industry and contributing to the prosperity of the local economy.

Community Investment

Pacific Hydro is proud to further support communities that host our clean energy projects through our industry-leading Community Investment Program, which delivers a portion of revenue back into our local communities each year.

At its core, the program aims to empower local communities to identify the projects and initiatives that we should support.

Across our projects in operation, a range of methods are used to achieve this aim (such as community funds and sponsorships), tailored to the specific needs of each area and involving the community.

Since its launch the program has delivered over $2.7 Million to over 600 community-led projects across regional Australia.

Community Engagement

A key part of Pacific Hydro’s successful delivery of projects is the way we engage and involve our neighbours, communities, and stakeholders throughout all stages. This involvement ensures that valuable local knowledge and perspectives are understood and considered by the project.

Members of the community and stakeholders will be provided with opportunities to be involved as the project progresses.

Planning Permit Application Documentation

Prairie Solar Farm Planning Application Assessment Report

Appendix 1 – Planning Permit Application Form

Appendix 2 – Copy of Land Titles (Crown Land Parcels)

Appendix 3 – Approach to Consultation and Engagement, and Sustainability

Appendix 4 – Indicative Concept Drawings

Appendix 5 – Project Environmental Management Framework

Appendix 6 – Flora and Fauna Assessment

Appendix 7 – Notice of Intent to Prepare a Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP)

Appendix 8 – Surface Water Assessment

Appendix 9 – Traffic Impact Assessment

Appendix 10 – Agricultural Land Quality and Productivity Assessment

Appendix 11 – Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment

Appendix 12 – Public Land Manager Consent

Appendix 13 – Self-Assessment Under the Environment Effects Act of 1978

Resources

Prairie Solar Farm – Project Information Sheet

Prairie Solar Farm – Project Overview and Location Map

More Information

For any complaints, enquiries, or feedback about this project, please contact us at enquiries@pacifichydro.com.au or 1800 730 734.