The largest hydroponic vegetable grower in Australia has been able to expand its operations thanks to a groundbreaking collaboration with a 196MW wind farm development.
Nectar Farms had planned to power its $565m expansion project with gas but almost had to abandon the project when costs proved to be prohibitive. However, after discussions with state government, local council and Neoen, the wind farm developer, they will now convert their entire operation to run on electricity from the wind farm and expand their glasshouses to 40 acres, creating 1,300 new jobs in an area which has recently suffered the closure of a goldmine.
Energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio highlighted the fact that renewable energy can ‘unlock opportunities for large, energy intensive businesses, to create jobs in regional communities’.
“We’re delivering affordable, secure and clean energy, which is powering new jobs right across our state,” D’Ambrosio said.
The project will also incorporate 20MW of battery storage, meaning it is 100% powered by wind energy. Nectar Farms will only use 10% of the electricity generated by the wind farm, with the rest to be purchased by the Victorian government.
This is one of several wind and solar farms planned for western Victoria, which will help the state to meet its target of 40% renewable electricity by 2025 and also count towards the federal renewable energy target.