The Numurkah Solar Farm was constructed on land previously used for cropping. The project required very limited vegetation clearance, and included the planting of vegetation screening to minimise visual impact.
Detailed technical assessments, including noise, ecology, heritage, visual and transport were completed as part of the planning application.
The impacts of solar farms are well understood due to the developed nature of the solar industry worldwide. This knowledge, together with the detailed local knowledge held by the relevant government agencies and private stakeholders, was used to reduce the solar farm’s impact on the local environment to the minimum.
Human activity is resulting in the release of large amounts of greenhouse gases. Such gases trap the sun’s heat in our atmosphere and upset the delicate balance of the Earth’s climate. Small changes in the temperature of the atmosphere cause accelerated melting of the polar ice caps and rising ocean levels, changes in rainfall patterns, destruction of delicate ecosystems such as coral reefs and increased extreme events such as droughts, hurricanes and cyclones.
Electricity production is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. More than a third of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the burning of fossil fuels to produce electricity. At present, Australia has the second highest greenhouse gas emissions per unit of electricity produced in the world.
One way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to replace fossil fuels with a natural, renewable source of energy such as solar. Initiatives to combat climate change, e.g. the Kyoto Protocol, have allowed solar energy to become, together with wind, the world’s fastest growing energy source. Wind and solar will account for 64% of the new power generating capacity added worldwide over the next 25 years.
Benefits of Solar
The environmental benefits of the Numurkah Solar Farm to the community are outlined below.
Renewable electricity generated per year
The Numurkah Solar Farm generates approximately 255,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable electricity per year.
Greenhouse gas emissions avoided
The proposed solar energy facility reduces CO2 emissions by 170,000 tonnes a year.
Average number of households
The proposed solar energy facility supplies enough power each year to service over 42,000 average NSW households.
Number of cars taken off the road
A solar energy facility that reduces CO2 emissions by 170,000 tonnes a year is equivalent to taking approximately 75,000 cars off the road.
Equivalent number of trees that would need to be planted
The 170,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions avoided by the Numurkah Solar Farm each year would be equivalent to the amount of carbon that would be locked up by planting 390,000 trees.