Two vital steps in Newstead’s bid to establish a local solar farm to supply our community with renewably-generated electricity are now in motion.
Community organisation, Renewable Newstead, is awaiting the Victorian Planning Minister’s decision whether or not to grant a permit to build the small scale generator after comments and objections on its planning applications closed late last month.
We are also finalising the tender or bid documents that will form our formal call for quotes from companies to build and operate the farm and sell the electricity. It’s likely these will go out nationally in October.
It’s a key time for the project. If and when the permit is granted and the quotes come in, RN will shortlist companies based on key criteria before introducing the shortlisted bidders to the community. More on that process to come, so watch our website www.renewablenewstead.com.au and join our mailing list to make sure you’re part of that.
Meantime, the Department of Planning is assessing our proposal for a solar farm of up to 10MW about 3km west of Newstead at the corner of Captains Gully Rd and Clarke Lane. The Victorian Minister for Planning will then decide to grant or refuse a permit.
Since 2015 our team has been working on realising an innovative model for a community solar farm that generates as much clean electricity as Newstead consumes each year (2 – 3 MW).
The model, advised by Energy for the People with funding grants from the Victorian Government, is unique in that it does not require initial community up-front investment and will allow any Newstead business and household the choice to purchase renewable energy from the Newstead Solar Farm by simply switching to the eventual electricity retailer.
Key points about the Renewable Newstead model include:
- commercially viable, grid connected, small scale solar farm
- managed by a retail partner for locals to opt in (or not)
- constructed and managed by a commercial partner
- day time (renewable) energy use rewarded with cheaper rates