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First Solar to bring jobs to Chinchilla

26 June 2017

Broken Hill Solar Plant. Image courtesy of AGL Energy.

Broken Hill Solar Plant. Image courtesy of AGL Energy.

Western Downs Regional Council has given the green light to a 100 megawatt solar farm that will generate 200 jobs in the region as part of the renewable energy legacy that is driving diversification in the region’s economy.

  • The Western Downs will be home to a 100 megawatt (MW) solar farm located 16km north east of Chinchilla, after Council approved the latest project for the Energy Capital of Australia;
  • The project will generate 200 jobs for Western Downs in its construction phase of eight to 12 months, and a further five full-time staff as well as local suppliers and industry to manage day-to-day operations and maintenance activities over its 30 years of operation;
  • The solar farm will span 310 hectares and will have the capacity to power 33,000 average Queensland homes per year;
  • Western Downs Regional Council sends a clear message to investors and developers that the region is open for business, and this is one of several projects that are evidence of that in our region; and
  • This project will not only create local jobs, but will stimulate small business in the region and create demand in the maintenance and supply sectors of Chinchilla.

Western Downs Regional Council Spokesperson for Planning and Environment Councillor Andrew Smith said the approval was in line with Council’s commitment to continue the legacy of renewable energy on the Western Downs.

“This project represents not only fantastic job generation, but also a diversification of the economy and opportunities for flow-on effects of economic stimulation for existing local businesses such as restaurants, accommodation, fuel supply and groceries,” he said.

An example of a large-scale solar farm. Image courtesy of First Solar.

An example of a large-scale solar farm. Image courtesy of First Solar.

“A solar farm of this magnitude is projected to bring around 200 jobs to the region during the construction phase, and that is a huge benefit for the Western Downs.

“Council is committed to bringing positive economic development to our region, and the First Solar project is another great example of the message we are sending out — The Western Downs is open for business.”

First Solar Senior Manager of Project Development Tom Best said working with Western Downs Regional Council to bring the project to the region has been a rewarding experience.

“From our initial discussions regarding the potential project through to the approval of the development application, Western Downs Regional Council has been open and transparent, and supportive of growth to the region,” he said.

“We have worked closely with the Planning Team and it has been great to see their commitment to ensuring collaboration for a successful project.

“As the project develops, we look forward to seeing its impact, not only in the economic development for the community, but also in strengthening the region’s energy security.”

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Media Contact:
Cr Paul McVeigh | Mayor, Western Downs Regional Council | 0408 700 392