Letter: Solar plant can’t pass a simple test of fairness

PANEL VIEW: A solar farm proposed for Brewongle would create a landscape similar to the view at this solar farm near Nyngan.
PANEL VIEW: A solar farm proposed for Brewongle would create a landscape similar to the view at this solar farm near Nyngan.

WE would like to express our strong opposition to Photon Energy’s proposed solar power plant at Brewongle.

Brewongle is a closely settled rural village and farming community surrounded by rich productive  agricultural land.

There are many residents who have invested their life savings in this rural area in the interests of the land and with capital investments to match. That is fair.

These residents will be directly affected by having a huge industrial scaled solar power plant imposed right next to their homes on their chosen rural properties, not to mention the immediate devaluation of their properties as confirmed by local agents. That is unfair.

This 500 acre solar plant isn’t the size of a tennis court or a sporting stadium. This industrial scale development on prime agricultural land is the equivalent of 4000 house blocks or two million square metres of land.

This is in total conflict with the rural environment and were it to proceed would be vandalising of the prime agricultural land and its purpose.

The Brewongle area is zoned by Bathurst Regional Environment Plan 2014 as RU1. (primary production)

Priorities of that plan are:

  • To encourage sustainable primary industry production.
  • To minimise the fragmentation and alienation of resource lands.
  • To minimise conflict between land uses.
  • To maintain the rural and scenic character of the land.
  • To not unnecessarily convert rural land resources to non-agricuItural land uses.

A solar plant of 397,556 PV panels and a 2.4m cyclone wire fence is in absolute conflict with the picturesque rural surroundings, rich productive farmland and established homes of residents.

The visual impact and dominance on the landscape that will be forced upon residents if this proposal succeeds will be devastating.

In this charge for renewable energy, sensible policy has to be devised around protecting prime agricultural land and our food security for future generations. That is fair.

Some questions remain unanswered around environmental issues with PV solar power plants. The phenomenon is still a new one and rapid development is taking place on the basis of ignorance.

But the effect the PV panels have on the local climate and what impact this has on the plants and soil is very important.

Research into wind farms and solar plants suggests these types of changes in Iand use could result in micro-cIimate changes (as supported by an agronomist’s report).

Big solar in the right place is good. But big solar in the wrong place is not necessary in a country as bug as Australia.

Put big solar on marginal land. Prime productive agricultural land is a rich resource that we cannot produce any more of.

We need to protect it and our food security for future generations.

Margie Locke, Brewongle