Frasers Solar Farm

Client: Frasers Development Pty Ltd
Location: Victoria, Australia
Date: September 2018 - ongoing

Project managing the development of a new 75 MW solar farm in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley 

Background

The transition to a modern and renewable energy future has opened up a raft of opportunities across Australia. In Victoria, the electricity market is witnessing a fundamental shift away from non-renewable energy generation to more sustainable options.

The Latrobe Valley has long been recognised as the centre of the electricity industry in Victoria, particularly through the coal industry. However, as many of the coal infrastructure reaches end-of-life, a shift to recognise the importance of decarbonisation, paired with ideal climatic and grid connection features of the region, has seen a spike in the interest in renewable energy projects within the Latrobe Valley.

The Frasers Solar Farm is the first large-scale solar farm in the Latrobe Valley to gain its approval. The solar farm will comprise of 228,000 tracking photovoltaic modules across 110 hectares of agricultural land. A battery energy storage system has also been included in the design, foreshadowing improved battery technology in the coming years.

It was also the second project to be submitted under the new pathway for large-scale utility solar farms that the Victorian Government introduced in 2019.

Solution

Frasers Development Pty Ltd engaged Entura to conduct a feasibility study in September 2018 to determine the project’s technical, environmental, social and economic viability. The studies indicated that the project was feasible, and from February 2019, we worked on the development approvals, securing approval in September 2020.

As project manager, Entura provided a spectrum of services through a number of our teams, including environment and planning, renewable design, spatial and data services, water management, and geotechnical engineering. We also engaged our preferred subconsultants where required, to ensure that the required inputs for the planning application would be obtained in a timely manner.

In the technical space, Entura also provided grid connection studies and support to assist South Energy with their negotiation of the connection agreement for the farm.

Drawing on our experience and expertise with large-scale utility renewables projects, Entura worked with the client and the regulator to foreshadow any issues and ensure we stayed within the client’s projected approvals timeframe.

We worked with our client to overcome challenges and community concerns. Entura took measures to address these, including redesigning the layout, and proposing permit commitments so the community could trust that these would be complied with during the construction and operation of the solar farm.

Services provided

  • feasibility studies
  • project management
  • solar design
  • development approvals
  • environmental assessments
  • social engagement
  • regulatory engagement
  • water management
  • geotechnical advice

Outcome

The Frasers Solar Farm is a significant milestone for Entura’s contribution to a more sustainable future, and a notable contribution to the decarbonisation of Latrobe Valley’s electricity industry. The $110 million development will supply energy to around 29,000 homes when operational, reducing carbon emissions by 154,000 tonnes annually for the next 30 years.

Frasers Solar Farm is set to begin construction in 2021 and be operational by 2022. Approved in the unprecedented times of COVID-19, the project will also bolster employment and economic recovery in Victoria. A portion of the project’s revenue will be invested back in the local Latrobe Valley community and projects through the solar farm’s investment fund.

Entura’s involvement with the project will continue beyond the achievement of the planning permit, assisting with the solar farm’s grid connection as well as in secondary consents.