Investment Opportunities in Loddon

Loddon turns to solar
2012/08/08 | Sophie Bruns

As energy costs continue to skyrocket, more and more people are turning to the sun to fulfil a void in energy production. With sun on tap in the Loddon Shire it is no surprise that the area has been chosen by Solar Systems Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Silex Systems Ltd, an ASX-listed company to investigate solar technology. The 600-kilowatt recently installed facility near Bridgewater is a step toward a greener future. The green, seven tonne power station is ultimately a demonstration facility that has been designed primarily for testing purposes, although it does still export electricity to the national grid. The site is one of the largest CPV (concentrating photovoltaic) solar power stations in Australia. It has been built to support the development, field testing and operational trials of technology the company plans to roll out in large utility-scale projects in Australia and overseas. Simply, CPV uses optics such as parabolic dishes to focus a large amount of sunlight on to a small area of ultra-high efficiency solar photovoltaic cells to generate electricity. These cells are said to be the most efficient in the world, converting sunlight into electricity at more than 40 per cent conversion efficiency today, with future improvements expected to take this to above 50 per cent over time. The experience and data collected from the Bridgewater site will guide Silex in its plans to build a major 100mW CPV power station in Mildura which will have the capacity to power 30,000 homes.  Construction is expected to commence in 2012 and be completed by 2015. Silex is also looking at building more large-scale solar power stations in key offshore markets, including the US and Middle East. It’s all part of a plan hatched under the previous Brumby Labor Government that, if realised, would see Victoria’s electricity supply from large scale-solar farms increase to 5 per cent by 2020. The Bridgewater facility has received strong financial support from federal and state government

Chicken farm improves environmental foot print
2012/03/02 | Sophie Bruns

  Hazeldene’s Chicken Farm was recently awarded a $2 million grant from the State Government’s Regional Growth Fund to help improve their facilities.   The company is to invest $8.7 million to install a 7km water pipeline, a gas fired co-generation plant and an anaerobic sludge digester for a waste treatment facility.   Hazeldene’s managing director John Hazeldene said the investment by the government helped secure the company’s energy and water infrastructure at their main Lockwood farming and production site.   “Our current water supply connection to the Coliban system is inadequate for our needs,” Mr Hazeldene said.   “During the hot summer months there is lack of water volume and pressure and we risk not being able to supply water to our two million chickens in our Lockwood Farms and Lockwood production plant.”   This investment will reduce the ecological impact of the company and improve efficiency.   “The combined cogeneration and anaerobic sludge digestion investment will reduce our solid waste by 60 per cent and green house gas emissions by 33 per cent.”   Since 1985 Hazeldene’s has grown from processing 8,500 meat chickens a week to more than 500,000. Over the last three years, the business has increased employment from 482 staff to 625 and by 2013, employment growth is expected to be over 8 per cent.   In March this year a new $20 million primary processing plant will be commissioned and a major upgrade to the production and processing plant is expected by 2015.   The company copped a hit in January 2011 when flood water ripped through their Priarie complex drowning 300,000 chickens and causing damage in excess of $2 million.  

Funding helps with clean up
2011/08/02 | Sophie Bruns

Government funding will help the Loddon shire clean up after January's floods decimated the area.

Loddon focuses on community
2011/08/02 | Sophie Bruns

An increase in funding will see the shire deliver a large number of projects to communities within the ward.

Water is the key
2011/05/12 | Sophie Bruns

A Pyramid Hill farmer has made the decision to modernise the irrigation set up on his mixed farming enterprise.

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