Solar farm creates regional jobs

A streamlined assessment process at Central Highlands Regional Council, Queensland has helped attract a solar farm that will create a significant jobs boost for the region.

It was announced in January that Energy Queensland, through Ergon Energy Retail, has entered a 12-year agreement with the Lilyvale Solar Farm near Tieri, 50 kilometres north of Emerald.
The Central Highlands Regional Council approved the development in 2015.

Energy Minister Mark Bailey said the Power Purchase Agreement with Lilyvale Solar Farm has secured an additional 100MW of renewable energy for regional Queenslanders.

“This project will create around 200 jobs during construction, which will begin later this year and will power approximately 45,000 homes,” Mr Bailey said.

Central Highlands Mayor Kerry Hayes said it was “indeed good news for the region”.

“The solar farm covers an area of approximately 400 hectares and was selected on the basis of its very high levels of solar irradiation and because it adjoins the Lilyvale substation, therefore maximising cost effective transportation of the electricity it will generate,” said the Mayor.

“The economic life of the solar panels and the facility is 30 years, after which time the facility will either be refurbished or decommissioned.

“The proposed solar farm is a clean, renewable energy initiative that will positively contribute to the local economy with services and support required for the construction phase of the project.

“What is really satisfying is that this council has created an assessment process that reduces red tape, offers one of the lowest assessment fees in Queensland, provides exceptional customer service and requires no infrastructure charges – all of which adds up to companies seeking to come here for their business.”

Council is currently assessing two other solar farm proposal applications.