92.9fm LOCAL NEWS

  • Toni Ambrogetti

Two solar farms seek approval in Warral and Kootingal


Sunny Tamworth is fast becoming the renewable energy hub of the North West as an additional two solar farms seek approval from the local council.


The $6.8 million project slated for Country Road, Warral is being developed by Providence Asset Group who have recently been approved for the Manilla Solar Farm.


The 13-hectare development site sits 4 km's southeast of Tamworth Regional Airport and will erect almost 12,000 solar panels that will connect to Essential Energy's network.

Warral Solar Farm Project, Source: Statement of Environmental Effects

The Environmental Impact Statement claims the construction period will bring around 30 jobs for 6 months before the solar farm continues to operate with no permanent staff.


Providence Asset Group's development application says they chose the area due to its flat topography and the need for additional electrical power in the growing Warral area.


The second 5MW project is designed by Canberra group ITP Development who are seeking approval for a Kootingal site on the New England Highway.


Similarly to the Warral Project, Kootingal's proposed solar farm will cost $6.6 million and aims to deliver renewable energy to the local community.


A spokesperson for ITP said the proposed site is connected to the distribution network making it an ideal location to power Kootingal.


"While the sun is up it will definitely get used in Kootingal first," an ITP spokesperson said, "Any excess will get pushed back into the network and end up in Tamworth."


ITP might have only just arrived in the New England Region, but their portfolio spreads far and wide with over 2000 renewable energy projects across the world.


The Kootingal Solar Farm proposal wants to put 12,100 panels across 11 hectares, with the peak of each panel reaching approximately 2.7 meters off the ground.

Kootingal Solar Farm proposed site, Source: Statement of Environmental Effects

Their current development application doesn't mention any storage capacity, however, ITP has confirmed that's being considered for the future, should they receive a green light for construction in Kootingal.


"It won't be a first step (to include storage), more like a 2nd step in the future," an ITP spokesperson said, "In its current form the solar farm will generate over 12 gig watt-hours of electricity every year."


A spokesperson for ITP confirmed they have not received any government subsidies, yet believe by the state government naming the region as a renewable energy hub, it gives private business the confidence to proceed with new project ideas.


Both projects are currently on display through Tamworth Regional Council's website and will be accepting public submissions later this week.

92.9FM acknowledges the Kamilaroi people as the traditional custodians of the land we work on. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and of the future.

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