Bright future ahead as major solar farm gets green light
THE Fraser Coast could realise its goal of being the renewable energy capital of Queensland as soon as this year, after a massive solar farm was approved by the council.
Plans for a 400.67ha solar farm home to about 500,000 solar panels at Munna Creek, near Bauple, was approved by the Fraser Coast council on Thursday.
The decision comes after three other sites were given the green light last year by council to host solar farms.
The facility will be developed by Renewable Energy System Technologies over three stages and involve the transport of hundreds of thousands of solar panels.
Stage 1 involves the preparation of the site, including roads and parking, while the solar panels will be transported and installed at the site during stage 2.
Stage 3 will comprise of post construction works including rehabilitation work to Blowers Rd and broader drainage and landscape treatments.
Once completed, the project is expected to generate thousands of electricity to connect to the Ergon network.
It is unknown how many jobs the solar farm could create.
The project's approval marks the fourth major renewable endeavour in the Fraser Coast.
It comes after a major deal was struck with a London based hedge fund to deliver two Queensland solar farms with capital costs of more than $300 million.
Australian solar developer Esco announced affiliates of Elliott Advisers would take 100 per cent of the Susan River solar farm, near Maryborough, and the Childers solar farm, near Bundaberg.
Both projects have now reached financial close, but neither has an offtake agreement meaning the electricity generated will be sold into the spot market.
Esco managing director Steve Rademaker said Elliott was prepared to fund the projects through to connection, entirely with equity.
Esco will remain as asset managers under a long-term contract.
Esco Pacific Managing Director and founder Steve Rademaker said Australian merchant solar remains an attractive opportunity for experienced investors.
"Esco looks forward to bringing jobs and growth to regional Australia through its extensive pipeline of highly advanced projects currently under development," Mr Rademaker said.
Two major projects in Teebar and North Aramara were approved last year with construction pending.
Teebar Clean Energy director Greg McGarvie said the company was currently resolving the regulatory requirements to start construction on their multi-million dollar project.
"We're working towards resolving everything so we can get a start on the project," Mr McGarvie said.
Infrastructure councillor Denis Chapman said the boom in major renewable projects was "something out of the future".
"Any work in this region is a bonus, we've got to generate employment, and this is the way forward," Cr Chapman said.
"The more of these projects we can approve for the region, the more advanced we'll be."