100MW, 264 hectare solar farm planned for north of Chinchilla
WESTERN Downs Regional Council is assessing a development application from First Solar Australia for a 100-megawatt, 264.2ha solar farm north of Chinchilla.
The Chinchilla Solar Farm proponent is hoping to spend eight to 10 months on construction, pending approvals, creating 200 jobs in the process.
A spokesperson for First Solar Australia said they hoped to begin building the farm within 12 months.
As the project is being assessed against the former Chinchilla Shire Council Planning Scheme (2006) as a public utility, it is therefore "code assessable” and residents, while they can object to the scheme, have no avenues of appeal in the Planning and Environment Court if it is approved.
The Chinchilla Solar Farm will be on a 642.9ha parcel of land bordering Butts Rd to the north and Pelican Back Rd to the east.
There are two homes 140m to the east of the project's proposed solar array, and one 50m away to the north.
A fourth home is 790m south of the lease area on the same parcel of land.
According to the proponent's development application, the project is anticipated to operate for approximately 30 years and will require up to five full-time staff to manage day-to-day operations and maintenance activities. The DA also states construction and operation workers will be accommodated "in surrounding townships” and "a worker's accommodation camp is not proposed”.
First Solar Australia has applied to the Federal Department of Environment and Energy for a permit to clear 25 Chinchilla White Gums, with a further 95 of the vulnerable species to be left on site.