THE state government is ready to build a major new wind farm with battery storage at Bulgana.
The $565-million project will power the expansion of Stawell’s Nectar Farms.
The co-located 196MW Bulgana Green Power Hub will be backed up by a 20MW battery, and will provide the secure and affordable energy Nectar Farms needs for its hydroponic greenhouses.
The project would make the advanced agriculture facility the world’s first ever crop farm to be completely powered by renewable energy.
The 15-year support agreement between the state government and Neoen Australia will deliver the hub.
Victorian Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said more than 1300 direct and indirect jobs would be created during the farm’s construction and once it was operational.
“This includes 270 direct ongoing jobs in the agricultural sector and 10 direct ongoing jobs in the renewable energy industry – all located in the Stawell region,” she said.
The wind farm and battery storage system will provide reliable and affordable renewable energy to unlock the development of a major new advanced agriculture facility at Stawell.
Ms D’Ambrosio said the farm would use the latest in hydroponic glasshouse and plant technology to create a 40-hectare, state-of-the-art facility to supply the highest quality vegetables into domestic and international markets.
“We’re delivering affordable, secure and clean energy, which is powering new jobs right across our state,” she said.
“This project will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions while helping meet Victoria’s renewable energy generation targets.
“The project will help secure the government’s greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets of 15 to 20 per cent – from 2005 levels – by the year 2020.
“This is an exciting initiative which illustrates how renewable energy can unlock opportunities for large, energy intensive businesses to create jobs and build a better future for regional communities.”
Nectar Farms announced plans to shift its full 40-hectare development to the Bulgana site in October.
Chief executive Stephen Sasse said the decision to shift its focus from its Leviathan Road site was driven by a number of factors, including reduced capital expenditure and operating expenses.