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Solar protecting farmers in future droughts

23 August 2018

Solar farms are a hot topic across the Western Downs, with several approvals plus new applications received by the Council within the past few weeks.

A 200MW Solar Farm at Hookswood, approximately 9km north-east of Miles has been approved this week, and additional applications received include a 148 MW Solar farm at Cameby and a 125 MW facility at Baking Board.

The Hookswood facility will have a footprint of 500Ha over a total site of 1211Ha and a battery storage component has been included.

With a lifespan of 30 years, the development includes conditions to rehabilitate the land following the cessation of activities on site.

Mayor of the Western Downs Regional Council Paul McVeigh says that a growing number of Development Applications for solar farms are being received by Council.

“Farmers are now considering other avenues for their land, they are looking at solar farms as a way of potentially protecting their income in future droughts.

“The benefits of solar farms with low environmental impact is that at any time, the land can be considered for other uses.”

Council requested independent verification to determine the Land Classification before approving the Hookswood development application.

“An on-ground assessment has found that the site is not Class A Agricultural land but is better categorised as Class C pasture/grazing land,” Mayor McVeigh said.

The Hookswood facility will employ approximately 100 staff during development and 5 to 10 people during operations.

Councillor Andrew Smith said Council are keen to see applications progress to the next stage so that new jobs can be created in constructing these farms.

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Media Contact:
Melanie Coutlas | Senior Media Relations Advisor | 0419 048 594