Solar Farm Proposed For Kerang Airport

Kerang airport solar energy project

Image: Google Earth

Victoria’s Gannawarra Shire Council is considering leasing out unused land at Kerang Airport for a small utility-scale solar energy project.

Council is seeking community feedback regarding KIG Energy Pty Ltd’s proposal to develop the facility on a 12-hectare parcel of land on the edge town, a venture that KIG would carry out in partnership with Swinburne University. KIG Energy and Swinburne University originally proposed the idea in a presentation to Council in April last year.

“If approved, KIG Energy will construct a small power generation plant that will connect to the broader electricity network. The micro grid can be ‘off the grid’ and produce power through renewable energy which can then be on sold to the local community.”

Usually a microgrid involves some form of energy storage, but that hasn’t been mentioned in Council’s notice or in the agenda for last week’s meeting. 

The proposed term of the lease is to be 30 years and the rental offer put to Council is $36,000 GST inclusive per annum; with an increase of 3% on the anniversary of the commencement date. It’s a nice chunk of change for an unused bit of land. KIG will shoulder all other costs associated with the project, including rehabilitating the land at the end of the 30-year term.

The public comment period closes on June 29.

Gigawatt+ Of Big Solar For Gannawarra

Gannawarra Shire Council is well acquainted with utility scale solar – and the airport project would be among the smaller facilities. The general area around Kerang is hotspot of large-scale PV activity, with a total of 1,154MW of approved projects constructed or in the pipeline (mainly the latter) boasting an estimated capital value of $1.54 billion.

A list of projects for Gannawarra Shire with a development green light can be found here. Council also notes an application has been lodged for a 510 MW solar farm and there is interest in an additional 1200 MW of PV capacity. 

The airport project isn’t the only venture for KIG Energy in the Shire. The list notes a 100MW facility for Macorna that has been approved, with construction to possibly start in late 2021. 

Small-scale systems are also a common sight on rooftops in the Shire, with more  than 828 solar panel installations in Kerang and across the 3579 postcode as at the end of March. These systems have collective capacity of around 5,125 kW, working out to approximately 1,071 watts of PV per person in the area – more than double the Australian average.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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