Western Downs approves 23rd solar farm, to bring jobs boom
THE WESTERN Downs is leading the way for Queensland’s renewable energy sector, with 23 solar farm approvals over the past four years, and the most recent being Australia’s biggest.
Council has approved an application by Elecseed Pty Ltd, which will see the construction of a photovoltaic solar farm south of Dalby, at a vacant 200-hectare site on Kumbarilla Lane, in Kumbarilla.
Western Downs Regional Council mayor McVeigh said the project would offer another injection in the local economy, with around 144 jobs expected to be created during construction
“These projects not only show strength in our economy in the short to mid-term, it also shows promising signs of long-term economic certainty, which is great news for the Western Downs,” Mayor McVeigh said.
“The Western Downs is open for business and Council is serious about attracting the right industries to stimulate growth in the local economy both now, and into the future.
“Energy is one of our four economic pillars, contributing to our overall Gross Regional Product (GRP) of $4.7 billion and our strong, diverse economy, and we’re seeing more and more renewable energy projects coming online, which is a huge vote of confidence in our region.”
Mayor Paul McVeigh said the region was pushing ahead of the pack with several renewable energy projects approved and under construction, signalling hundreds of jobs.
“We have the right climate, landscape, connectivity, infrastructure and skilled workforce to support renewable energy projects, and it’s fantastic to see another renewable energy project given the green light,” he said.
“This is the 23rd solar farm approval granted by Council in the last four years, adding to an influx of renewable projects worth a combined $4 billion to the Western Downs.
“On top of this, our region is also welcoming new wind farms, such as the recently constructed Coopers Gap Wind Farm, the approved Dulacca Wind Farm and the newly approved Wambo Wind Farm.
“Vena Energy has also started construction on Queensland’s largest grid-scale battery, which again solidifies the continued investment in our region and its attractiveness for large-scale renewable energy projects.”
Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise Chief Executive Officer Ali Davenport said it was exciting to see yet another major renewable energy project approved on the Western Downs, creating jobs and economic growth.
“The Western Downs Regional Council’s approval process shows how serious they are about cementing the region as an energy production powerhouse and providing opportunities for locals,” Ms Davenport said.
“Any renewable energy company within Australia or overseas looking to invest in Queensland should think seriously about the Western Downs because of the access to energy infrastructure, ideal climate and the professionalism of the Western Downs Regional Council.”
Councils announcement of a new solar farm south of Dalby, comes at the same time of one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies, Neoen, announcing Western Downs will soon be home the Australia’s largest solar farm.
The 460 MWp solar farm will be located near Chinchilla, and is set to generate enough energy to power 235,000 Queensland homes, or enough to power every home on the Sunshine Coast.
The project is anticipated to bring significant economic benefits to the region, and create over 400 construction jobs.