Solar farm proposed for Fremantle rubbish dump nears construction

Long-held plans to install around 2MW of solar PV at a former rubbish dump in Fremantle, Western Australia, have cleared their last major regulatory hurdle.

The project site at the former South Fremantle tip this week got the nod from W.A.’s Department of Water and Environmental Regulation as being suitable for use as a solar farm, provided management plans were adhered to.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said the environmental approval brought the Council owned PV project, which will be built and operated by Australian renewables outfit Epuron, one step closer to construction.

Indeed, construction is expected to start in the first half of 2020, Pettitt said, provided Epuron was able to negotiate a power purchase agreement with an electricity retailer.

“Because the old South Fremantle tip is a contaminated site we have to be certain the solar farm can be built and operated safely, so the approval from DWER is great news,” he said.

“All that remains now is for the City to finalise the lease with Epuron in accordance with the business plan that was approved by the council in September last year.”

As we have reported, the City of Fremantle has committed to meet 100 per cent of council energy needs with renewable energy by 2025.

Its One Planet Fremantle program also commits the council to zero corporate emissions by 2020 via a mix of green power purchase options, renewable energy, and energy efficiency measures.

For local and state governments, capped landfills are becoming increasingly attractive as locations for solar farms, as a way to make good use of otherwise unusable parcels of land.

In NSW, the former coal city of Newcastle is building a 5MW solar farm at its Summerhill waste management centre.

For Fremantle, the solar farm not only makes good use of a landfill site that has been disused since the mid-1980s, but promises to provide the City with locally generated renewable energy, thus reducing its need to buy carbon offsets.

Pettitt said the council and Epuron would soon be arranging a community information session to help explain the next steps for the solar project, and answer any questions.

Epuron in 2017 completed a 1.8MW solar installation at the  Ayers Rock Resort near Uluru in Central Australia.

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