The planning approval has been obtained for a 20MW solar farm that will power a data center and crypto-currency mining in the coal-mining center of Collie in Western Australia.
A company owned by local energy entrepreneur Ben Tan, Hadouken Pty Ltd., was the one who made the application. Tan has also been involved in a company called Tesla Holdings (no relation to the Elon Musk Tesla), and a Nasdaq-listed solar farm developer VivoPower.
Approved by the Joint Development Assessment Panel on Tuesday, the project is going to be located near a sub-station on a rural property about 2kms north of Collie, the home of the state’s biggest coal generator, Muja. The approval also includes the possibility of installing battery storage at a later date.
The output of the solar farm will be used to mine cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, among others. The process is described as an energy-intensive proves as it requires considerable computer and data resources.
Ben Tan said that Collie was a perfect place for a solar farm because of its good solar panel resources, and also to assist in transitioning away from coal.
The solar farm project is one of the large-scale solar projects under construction or proposed in the state.
There has also been opposition from locals towards the Collie project, one of them describing a solar farm as an “ugly scar” on the landscape, another couple saying could not comprehend why the shire council would want to encourage solar farms in the area.
“When all the coal mines are struggling to survive, and here we have a company going to put power into the grid using solar panels, hence threatening our mines and their production.”