Sun shines on large-scale solar

Article image - Sun shines on large-scale solar Pacific Hydro: (Left to right) Landholder David Cox, Pacific Hydro Project Director Claire Driessen, Burdekin Shire Mayor Lyn McLaughlin, Pacific Hydro General Manager New Business Australia Rachel Watson, Burdekin Shire Council Planning and Development Manager Shane Great and Pacific Hydro Engagement and External Affairs Manager Krista Kim, pictured at the Haughton Solar Farm development site in the Burdekin.

The Burdekin Shire Council in Queensland recently approved construction on what will become one of Australia’s largest solar farms. 

Pacific Hydro has been given the green light to build the large-scale solar farm west of Giru, after Burdekin Shire Council recently approved the development.

Up to 240 jobs are expected to be created during the construction phase of the Haughton Solar Farm, with up to 10 ongoing jobs during the operational phase.

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said the solar farm would be built in three stages over eight years and reach up to a maximum capacity of 500MW, enough to power about 170,000 homes.

Council’s approval of the project was subject to the applicant meeting conditions, including upgrading part of the road used to access the site.

“We know Burdekin is ideal for large-scale solar farms as it is recognised as having high levels of irradiation, along with large areas of flat terrain,” Mayor McLaughlin said.

“The approved development is for a large-scale solar farm and battery storage facility to be built over a development area of 1181ha at Keith Venables Road in the Upper Haughton.

“The Pacific Hydro solar farm represents a major investment in our Shire and in the Burdekin’s potential as a solar energy powerhouse of the future.”

The Pacific Hydro development is the third large-scale solar farm to gain approval in the Burdekin.

Mayor McLaughlin said the project met the intent and desired outcomes of Council’s Planning Scheme.

“The use does not compromise the long term productive capacity of the land nor does it negatively impact on current soil classes,” she said.

“If the solar farm becomes unviable or past its operational lifespan, the land can be converted back to agricultural land unencumbered.”