RURAL residents to the east of Bathurst are again banding together to oppose plans for a solar farm to be built on productive agricultural land.
UK-based Elgin Energy has contacted a number of residents at Glanmire to tell them of plans to develop a 60 megawatt solar farm on 160 hectares beside the Great Western Highway on the eastern entrance to Bathurst.
It's just a stone's throw across paddocks from the site at Brewongle earmarked by Photon Energy in 2018 for a 200 hectare solar farm, a development that sparked furious objections from nearby residents and now appears to have been shelved.
A brochure published by Elgin Energy claims the development, if approved, would create around 150 jobs during the construction phase and three ongoing jobs once it's up and running.
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Elgin says the land is currently used for grazing and cropping and they believe sheep would still be able to graze beneath the panels if the development goes ahead.
It says the clean, renewable electricity produced at the solar farm could power more than 24,000 NSW homes and the development would achieve significant annual reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
But it's a case of history repeating for landowner Peter Hennessy who was one of the leading voices opposed to the Brewongle solar farm and is also determined to see the Glanmire plans dumped.
Mr Hennessy said a solar farm was an inappropriate use of quality agricultural land and the proposal represented a significant loss for the Bathurst economy.
Those losses, according to Glanmire Action Group spokesperson Jo Petch, include an annual grain crop of an estimated 560 tonnes a year, a loss of spending at local businesses and rural supply stores and the loss of access to quality land for young farmers wanting to "work the land".
"The economic loss to Bathurst cannot be calculated with precision but clearly it will be a most substantial annual loss and a massive loss over a period of 40 years," Ms Petch said.
"... We residents are now, in reality, put to the stress, anxiety and expense of defending our land and city by retaining experts to report on the proposal."
Residents say they are not opposed to solar farms or renewable energy but that they should be sited within the Central West Orana Renewable Energy Zone identified by the state government.
The Central West zone takes in a huge expanse of land north of Wellington and Dubbo and is expected to be shovel-ready by the end of 2022, unlocking up to 3000 megawatts (MW) of new electricity capacity by the mid-2020s.
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