Array, we’re almost there

A DEVELOPMENT application for a solar farm may finally give Fremantle council a resolution to the decades-old problem of what to do with the old South Fremantle tip site.

Earlier this week emerging renewable energy provider and developer Epuron submitted its plans for a 4.9 megawatt solar array which would take up eight hectares of the old tip site.

The company already has small-scale solar farms pumping out 7MW, but has been involved with partners in delivering big projects such as the 165MW Gullen Range Wind Farm.

Epuron says the project will take six months to construct with a 30-strong workforce at its peak, but once it’s up and running it’ll be a pretty lonely place with just the occasional maintenance worker popping by.

It will also have a minimal effect on the neighbours, as the panels will only be three metres off the ground and well screened by vegetation. It will also be relatively easy to move if in future some genius comes up with a way to clean up the toxic nasties lying in the soil below and make the land available for other uses (it is beach-side after all).

Humming

Cabling will connect to Western Power’s local 22kV network, either on Cockburn Road or Island Street, with any humming machinery set well back from residents.

“Development activities may involve minor disturbance of existing surface soils as part of site preparation works and to allow for appropriate placement of the solar apparatus,” says Epuron’s application in reference to the site’s contaminated status. But the company says that’ll be minor and its got contingencies in case toxic materials like asbestos are exposed.

Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt says if approved it would be the first urban solar farm of its size in Australia and will go a long way towards making the city completely powered by renewable energy by 2025.

The plans are up for public comment until Friday March 30 at the council’s mysay.fremantle.wa.gov.au website.

by STEVE GRANT

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