THE solar farm proposed for Brewongle is making headlines, mostly, it seems, because of local opposition.
I am surprised that it is expected to be such a visual disaster, especially when it will be a very significant advance in the transition to renewable energy that will reduce climate change.
It could reasonably become the focus of local pride. The prime agricultural land used will not be permanently lost or damaged.
The publicity about the Brewongle project has encouraged me to suggest here, perhaps inviting trouble but hopefully constructive discussion, that part of the sunny face of Mount Panorama could be a good place for another, much smaller, solar farm, which would not diminish the worth of the Brewongle one.
A solar farm on council land on Mount Panorama could be at least partly a community project, and motor sport people associated with the Mount might also get involved.
For both our community and motor sport, this could represent a practical and symbolic balancing of the Mount’s books with respect to carbon dioxide emissions and fossil fuels and renewable energy.
In its favour, agricultural land would not be taken out of production, fogs are a bit less up there, noise surely wouldn’t be an issue, biodiversity need not be significantly damaged, and it should not conflict with residents or motor sports.
Visually, it need not be ugly or confronting. Biodiversity and aesthetic problems would be minimised by keeping a solar farm below the very visible, steep, grassy upper slopes where the large lettering is (which I feel is visually confronting).
It could go lower, on the unused former orchard land that council now owns, and which is not clearly visible from urban areas.
The solar arrays don’t have to be in large rectangular blocks; they can be shaped and arranged to fit around drainage lines and remnant bush and future plantings.
The area available with this approach is fairly small, but big enough, I hope, for a worthwhile local generation of renewable energy.
It would help us to become accepting of local renewable energy projects, and it would broaden the basis of Bathurst’s and Mount Panorama’s reputations.