Nectar Farms announced plans to shift its full 40-hectare development to the Bulgana Green Power Hub site, which it will share with a 63-turbine wind farm set to be built by renewable power company, Neoen.
Focus will now be moved away from the original Phase One site off Leviathan Road.
Nectar Farms chief executive Stephen Sasse said the decision for the company to shift its focus to the Bulgana site was driven by a number of factors, including a reduction in capital expenditure and operating expenses.
But he said the company still had plans to maintain a hold on the Leviathan Road site until construction at the Bulgana Green Power Hub had sufficiently progressed.
“This decision will produce savings in capital expenditure and operating expenses, largely arising from establishing a single construction site (as opposed to two) simpler construction, no duplication of facilities and the ability to operate solely off the BGPH electricity supply, obviating the need for natural gas and grid energy,” Mr Sasse said.
“We propose to hold the Phase One site in reserve until such time as construction of the windfarm and the glasshouse is underway, and then dispose of the Phase One land.”
Mr Sasse said a masterplan for the Bulgana development is currently being completed, with construction set to begin in March 2018, pending planning approval.
Northern Grampians Shire Council mayor Tony Driscoll said he welcomed Nectar Farms’ announcement and the expedited delivery of employment and contractor opportunities for the Stawell community.
“We have worked closely with Nectar Farms on this major investment in our region, and we welcome the news that soon, our community will be able to reap the benefits of that hard work in the form of a number of employment opportunities,” he said.
Representatives from Northern Grampians Shire Council and Nectar Farms conducted information sessions with neighbouring landholders and contractors on Tuesday to give a complete oversight of the change in plans.
“We are committed to keeping our community abreast of any and all changes to this major project,” Cr Driscoll said.
“And together with the Nectar Farms team, we will continue to supply as much information as possible for the duration of the construction phase.”