Bathurst Community Climate Action Network has shown its support for the proposal for a 190-hectare solar farm at Brewongle.
The solar farm is expected to save 223,161 tonnes in carbon dioxide emissions annually and produce the equivalent of about 70 per cent of the city’s energy usage.
BCCAN president Tracy Sorensen said it was an exciting step in the right direction.
”We have been campaigning for ten years now for a major upturn in renewable energy in the face of the transition away from burning coal and other fossil fuels,” she said
BCCAN considered the proposal at its monthly committee meeting on November 21.
This included consideration of the project’s impact on local agricultural land.
“Our information is that while the solar farm will have visual impact, neighbouring farming land will not be physically impacted,” Ms Sorensen said.
“On the property in question, land will be re-allocated to solar panels, but some sheep will continue to graze around the panels, allowing the co-existence of solar farming with more traditional forms of farming.
“There is evidence that as soon as panels are removed, the land quickly returns to its former productive capacity.
“Unlike an open-cut coal mine, which obliterates everything in its path and creates pollution in the immediate vicinity as well as greenhouse gas emissions when it is burned, a solar farm has far less impact, does not pollute the immediate area and contributes to the massive reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that is required to slow down global warming.”
BCCAN feels that, at a time when Bathurst is considering its branding and how it it seen by the outside world, the solar farm has potential to show that this region is future-oriented and tech-savvy.
“The transition away from the fossil fuels that fed the industrial revolution is a major disruption,” Ms Sorensen said.
“Perfect solutions are unlikely, and this roll-out is unfortunately occurring in the context of a toxic political discourse around climate change and a regulatory system that is more hindrance than help.
“But as a region, we can either embrace change or turns our backs on it. The current options are coal or renewables. It’s time to step up for renewables.”
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