Energy set to push our region forward

FUTURE: APA Group's Sam Pearce and WDRC Mayor Paul McVeigh at the Renewable Energy Roundup.
FUTURE: APA Group's Sam Pearce and WDRC Mayor Paul McVeigh at the Renewable Energy Roundup. Marguerite Cuddihy

THE Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise in partnership with the Western Downs Regional Council hosted their Renewable Energy Roundup this week, following on from the National Energy Summit held earlier this June in Toowoomba.

Industry experts and innovative businesses attended to share their knowledge and experience as they look to capitalise on the emerging opportunities of the region's renewables boom.

Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Paul McVeigh spoke about the importance of the renewable energy sector.

"Our renewable development not only generates economic vitality, it most importantly shows we are leading the way in renewable energy as a pillar of our economy,” Cr McVeigh said.

"Renewable energy is a great example of adding diversity to our strong economy, which compliments the pillars of agriculture, intensive agriculture, manufacturing and energy.

"A strong economy makes for a strong community, so we will continue to drive our region forward.”

Cr McVeigh also noted future prospects in the renewable sector, adding credence to Western Downs' title as the Energy Capital of Queensland.

"In addition to approved renewables projects in the Western Downs region, the Council also has 1.84GW of renewables in the pipeline, which is a construction investment of $1.9 billion,” he said.

"We're in a unique situation where we are supporting coal, gas, wind and solar as well as our ethanol biorefinery project, proving it is possible for competing industries to work in unison.”

APA Group's Sam Pearce is excited about the future of the renewable energy sector in Western Downs, however also recognises the significance of the gas industry. "From an APA perspective, we support both gas-fire generation and renewables, so we want to invest and operate both,” Mr Pearce said. "We look at gas and renewables as both being important parts of the future energy mix.”

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