Bendemeer Renewable Energy Hub addresses community concerns as solar development heats up

From the Tenterfield Star on May 31, 2022

A drop in session for the Bendemeer Renewable Energy Hub on Saturday, has fielded a range of community concerns.

Project manager Mark Vile said some locals just wanted to know more about the $900 million project, which will take years to complete and include several components, including a 490,000 strong solar farm.

Other residents had more serious questions about what impact the project, owned by Singapore-based Athena Energy Holdings, would have on the community.

“It ranged from people that had some concerns, mainly in relation to visual and noise related matters, to people who were interested in what benefits there would be to the local community of Bendemeer,” he said.

“There were a bunch of people were simply just interested to know more because they didn’t know much about it.”

Mr Vile said the drop-in session was a good opportunity for the company to help the community understand the project and he said there was plenty of support for the role it will play in the future.

“There were people saying this is what we’re in, we’re in a transition in energy sources, and although it may lead to some changes this is where the world’s going at the moment,” Mr Vile said.

“So overall there was a real mix of questions and views.”

The project is still in the planning stages, with the Environmental Impact Statement currently being drafted for the first component, which will be a solar and battery farm.

Early planning is also under way for the wind component. Between them roughly 450 jobs will be created.

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