Bookaar Renewables has been working on a Proposal to construct and operate a 220 MW (282MWdc) Solar Farm at Bookaar, approximately 8 kilometres north of the township of Camperdown in southwest Victoria. The location of the solar farm is shown here.
The solar farm has been located on 588 ha of flat, highly modified agricultural land. The final location and scale of the solar farm has been carefully designed in order to avoid or minimise potential environmental impacts (see the links to supporting technical reports below).
Fully constructed, the solar farm will produce enough energy to power the equivalent of approximately 92,000 average Victorian households each year, while reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 519,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), based on the current energy mix of the Victorian electricity sector.
The Bookaar Solar Farm will generate electricity through the conversion of solar radiation to electricity using PV panels, laid out across the proposal site in rows, mounted on a single axis tracking system with piled supports. Other onsite infrastructure will include a battery, electrical inverters, underground electrical cabling, internal access tracks, operational buildings, parking areas, security fencing and landscape screening.
The Bookaar Solar Farm was granted a Planning Permit (PA2000997) by the Department of Environment Land Water & Planning (DELWP) on behalf of the Minister for Planning on 14 July 2022. This followed agreement between all parties involved in a Compulsory Conference at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) on 01 July 2022.
The endorsed Site Plan showing the design of the consented solar farm can be found here.
Technical assessments that supported the Development Application and VCAT process can be found by clicking on the links below:
- Agricultural Land Assessment
- Biodiversity Assessment
- Risk Management Plan (endorsed 2023)
- Cultural Heritage Assessment
- Flood Impact Assessment
- Economic Impact Assessment
- Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment
- Traffic Impact Assessment
- Town Planning Report
- Amenity Report (with 2022 noise report update)
- Noise Report 2022
- Landscape Plan (endorsed 2023)
The Proposal was the subject of a previous planning application to the local Corangamite Shire Council (July 2018), and subsequent Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal decision (August 2019).
In response to the Tribunal’s decision not to grant approval for the Proposal, Bookaar Renewables refined the solar farm design to ensure that the issues identified by the Tribunal were addressed. In particular, the design was refined in response to detailed hydrological and bushfire assessments.
2021 Planning Application
An updated proposal was submitted to the Minister for Planning (via the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning).
In response to the Tribunal’s decision regarding the previous application, and in combination with additional Hydrology and Bushfire assessments, changes were made to the design of the Proposal when compared to the Previous Application. These are listed below.
- The location of the substation, battery and operations buildings have been rearranged to avoid an area of flooding during large flood events (1% AEP). These elements remain in the same general location, on the western boundary of the Site, adjacent to the transmission line that will export electricity from the Proposal.
- The main access route for the Proposal has been rerouted in response to safety concerns raised by the local community at VCAT regarding the original access route for the Previous Application which accessed the Site from Meningoort Road via Blind Creek Road. Access is now proposed via the Darlington Camperdown Road (the main road in the area) and onto the northern part of Meningoort Road which crosses the Site.
- Inter row spacing of the tracking system has been adjusted from 12 metres to be 12.75 metres (south of the 220kV transmission line) and 13 metres (north of the 220kV transmission line).
- The overall number of Access Points has been increased from five to eight in response to the bushfire assessment.
- The number of water tanks for fire prevention has been increased from one to eight in response to the bushfire assessment.
However, it should be noted that the Proposal remains a design of the same dimensions and characteristics, located within the same design envelope as the previous planning application.
2022 VCAT Process
Following the issue of a ‘Notice of Decision to Grant a Planning Permit’ by the Minister for Planning in December 2021, two objector appeals were lodged at VCAT in January 2022. All parties reached agreement regarding the consent for the Bookaar Solar Farm during the Compulsory Conference on 01 July 2022.
Once necessary Permit conditions are discharged and the Proposal is ready for construction, it is estimated that it would take approximately 12 months to construct and would be operational for approximately 28 years. Following the operational period, all above ground infrastructure would be removed from the site. The decommissioning process would take approximately 12 months.
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