Nillumbik Shire Council has moved a step closer to its aim of developing a solar farm on the former Plenty landfill site after awarding the tender for its development and operation to renewable energy project company LMS Energy Pty Ltd.
At its Ordinary Meeting of Council on 15 September, Council voted to proceed with plans to develop the solar farm at the site, in Yan Yean Rd, Plenty.
The decision follows a public Request For Tender (RFT) and community consultation process.
Council and LMS Energy will now commence further community consultation and engagement to inform the design phase of the project.
Under the scope of the agreement, the solar farm will initially supply electrical power to Council’s corporate buildings, including the Civic Centre and street lighting as part of a phased approach under a power purchasing agreement.
LMS is responsible for the cost of developing and maintaining the solar farm.
Council will purchase fixed-priced electricity through the term of the Power Purchase Agreement which will achieve cost savings compared with business-as-usual.
This phased approach provides further opportunities to increase the size and output of the solar farm to supply other sources, such as Council’s tenanted buildings, the community and local businesses – dependant on demand and commitments.
The phased approach will also provide future considerations in relation to potential community investment opportunities as well as future battery storage solutions.
It is estimated that construction will commence in 2023, upon completion of all community consultation, design, permit application and site remediation requirements.
Nillumbik Mayor Karen Egan said the solar farm would form a key component of Council’s commitment to practical and very local emission reduction.
“This initiative will contribute significantly to helping Council reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. It will be integral to Council’s efforts to achieve meaningful and measurable emission reduction,” said Cr Egan.
“It is also a practical use of a former landfill site for which there would otherwise be limited options and, critically, it offers the opportunity to deliver cost savings to Council and ratepayers.”
Sustainability Committee Chair Cr Jane Ashton said the project would see Council exceed national renewable energy targets.
“This solar farm project means Council will go beyond simple compliance with the Commonwealth’s renewable energy targets. Upon completion Council-owned sites will purchase 100 per cent renewable energy – a great outcome for the environment, Council and the community," Cr Ashton said.
Blue Lake Ward Councillor Grant Brooker said that establishing the solar farm would achieve important aims.
“Through the solar farm project, Council will lower emissions and lower energy costs, as well as make an important contribution to the development of new, renewable energy in Victoria, thereby putting Nillumbik ahead on some key measures.”
LMS Energy will lease the land at the decommissioned Plenty landfill site for the life of the project – estimated to be up to 30 years.