LODDON Shire councillors have approved a new solar farm west of Bendigo despite concerns from nearby residents about the loss of good quality agricultural land.
The 100 megawatt solar farm will be built by AcEnergy on 270-hectares of land in Derby, towards Rochester.
Three objectors told the council they were concerned about the project, which they said would be built on farmland used for cropping and grazing.
"The ground at Derby is of high agricultural value and I believe other, lower value country could have been found," one objector wrote.
But mayor Cheryl McKinnon said the council was satisfied that agricultural activity could continue at the site, which is zoned for farming.
"There will be capacity for some grazing to be carried on within that precinct, and that will feed into weed management, which there was also some concern about in the objections," she said.
"So we are fairly satisfied that the grounds for the objections can be managed."
The Loddon Shire supports more solar projects, as long as "appropriate locations" can be found, Cr McKinnon said.
Her council is advocating for other tiers of government to raise the capacity of a major power line between Bendigo to Kerang.
While that line does not cross through the Derby solar farm site, the Bendigo to Kerang line would help other power projects in the shire, Cr McKinnon said.
The line is one of a number that the Australian Energy Market Operator would like to see improved to help western Victoria's energy grid absorb power from the many renewable operations popping up around the state.
Engineers acting for AcEnergy advised the council before the vote said Derby was chosen in part because of the amount of sunshine that falls there and the presence of a 66kc electricity line.
While they acknowledged all land had inherent agricultural value, the engineers noted the paddocks were not in a recognised agricultural district, and that a lot of the shire's most productive land was elsewhere.
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