Melbourne’s railed street transport will run on solar
Melbourne’s trams will soon be fuelled by 100 per cent solar power thanks to the largest operating solar farm in Victoria, making them green powered trams.
At least, that’s the amount of power the 128 MW Numurkah Solar Farm, north of Shepparton, will create. Its array of more than 300,000 solar panels produces enough power for Melbourne’s fleet of 450 trams.
In addition to Numurkah solar power, the trams will also draw energy from the Bannerton Solar Park near Robinvale on the Murray River to provide a carbon neutral transport service.
100% solar: Green powered trams cut carbon emissions
Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio officially opened the Numurkah Solar Farm last week.
The French-owned facility will feed 255 GWh of clean energy into the national power grid each year. It will also power the energy-hungry Laverton Steelworks.
As a result, carbon emissions in the state will substantially reduce. The amount is equal to removing 75,000 cars from the road or planting 390,000 trees. That’s in addition to the cars removed from the road by the efficient mode of transport that green powered trams are. Or any trams, for that matter.
Solar energy greening up Australian steel industry
Energy makes up between 20 and 40 per cent of input costs in steel-making. Solar power is therefore increasingly used to reduce power costs in this struggling industry.
Because of this, renewable producer Neoen signed a 15-year deal with SIMEC ZEN Energy to help power the Laverton Steelworks in Melbourne’s western suburbs.
British billionaire Sanjeev Gupta runs the Australian company SIMEC ZEN Energy. Gupta is also behind the rescue plan for the struggling steelworks at Whyalla in South Australia.
He aims to power the steelworks from the 280 MW Cultana Solar Farm signed off by the South Australian Government in May this year.
Cultana will have 780,000 solar panels generating up to 600 GWh a year. This can power close to 100,000 homes and offset 492,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Victorian Government’s clean energy credentials
Re-elected in November 2018, the Andrews Labor Government in Victoria is proud of its renewable energy credentials. These include:
- Increased renewable energy target (RET) of 50 per cent by 2030.
- Solar panel rebate up to $2,225 under the Solar Homes program.
- Half-price solar batteries under the same scheme.
- Solar panel access for renters under Solar Homes.