Go-Ahead For 250MW Western Downs Solar Farm

Western Downs Regional Council has announced approval of another large-scale solar farm in its region – the second to be approved by Council this week.

The 250MW project will be located 23km south-east of Chinchilla, close to the site of Kogan Creek Power Station.

According to project developer Tilt Renewables, Western Downs Solar Farm will be comprised of up to 900,000 solar panels installed over a 500 hectare parcel of disused low-intensity grazing land – and there’s potential for battery storage of up to 50MW capacity to be included.

Tilt says the facility will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 91,000 homes and avoid 430,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

Tilt Renewables is a New Zealand based company that has been active in Australia for 16 years. Among its local projects are the Snowtown (SA), Blayney and Crookwell (NSW) wind farms.

“This approval will provide us with a solid foundation  for our plans to expand our development activity into Queensland and the solar sector,” said General Manager Renewable Development Clayton Delmarter.

The project, which is being developed in partnership with Brisbane’s Yellow Solar, will create 250 jobs during construction and 12-15 positions over the course of its 25 years of operation.

Tilt Renewables says it is also looking at implementing a community benefit fund to accompany the project, similar to those it has established elsewhere.

“Tilt Renewables values the strong relationships we’ve shared with landowners and local community groups on all our projects and we would like to build on these relationships for the proposed Western Downs Solar Farm as well.”

The latest large-scale solar approval is the tenth from Western Downs Regional Council in less than two years, and the second this week. On Tuesday, it also gave the green light for the Beelbee Solar Farm to go ahead, which will be between 150 and 240MW capacity.

Western Downs Deputy Mayor Andrew Smith has said there’s even more applications in the pipeline.

Renewable Energy Sets A Cracking Pace In Queensland

In related news, Queensland’s Treasurer and Acting Energy Minister Curtis Pitt welcomed the latest Green Energy Markets’ Renewable Energy Index report that indicated jobs in the sector in Queensland surpassed those in New South Wales for the first time. Mr. Pitt says there’s many more to come.

“… the broader pipeline of proposed projects is 40 projects ,worth $5 billion, with a generating capacity of 5297 MW and 9,245 jobs,” stated Mr. Pitt.

Queensland’s passion for small scale solar boom is also continuing, with the state now home to more than 523,700 solar systems below 100kW capacity according to the latest information from Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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