Victorian Wine Growers Urge MPs to Block Australia's Largest Solar Farm in Key Grape Region

Victorian wine growers fight to stop Australia's largest solar farm from encroaching on Heathcote's prime agricultural land, fearing devastating impact on wine tourism. Heated debate over renewable energy vs. preserving farmland.

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Geeta Pillai
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Victorian Wine Growers Urge MPs to Block Australia's Largest Solar Farm in Key Grape Region

Victorian Wine Growers Urge MPs to Block Australia's Largest Solar Farm in Key Grape Region

In a direct appeal to state MPs, Victorian wine growers are calling for the prevention of Australia's largest proposed solar farm from being built in the heart of the Heathcote region, a prominent grape-growing area. The Cooba solar farm, put forward by Venn Energy, would span an expansive 800 hectares, with 80% of its footprint situated within the Heathcote region.

Winemaker John Davies has sounded the alarm, cautioning that the solar farm poses a significant threat to the region's high-quality agricultural land and could have devastating consequences for wine tourism. The solar panels, if installed, would be prominently visible, altering the picturesque landscape that draws visitors to the area.

The wine growers are imploring the Victorian government to intervene and halt the construction of this large-scale solar project in a critical grape-growing region. They argue that the land should be safeguarded for its intended purpose of high-quality agricultural production rather than being repurposed for the solar farm.

Why this matters:

As the wine growers await a response from state MPs, the fate of the Heathcote region hangs in the balance. "We cannot afford to sacrifice our best agricultural land and the thriving wine tourism industry for the sake of a solar farm," Davies emphasized, underscoring the high stakes involved in this contentious issue.

Key Takeaways

  • Victorian wine growers oppose Cooba solar farm in Heathcote, a key grape-growing region.
  • The proposed 800-hectare solar farm threatens agricultural land and wine tourism in the area.
  • Winemakers argue the land should be preserved for high-quality agricultural production.
  • The dispute highlights the tension between renewable energy and preserving agricultural land.
  • The outcome could set a precedent for future land-use decisions in Victoria and beyond.