New light shines on so­lar farm

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - TONY RAGGATT tony. raggatt@ news. com. au

A $ 100 mil­lion so­lar farm pro­ject is back on track at Collinsville af­ter the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment ne­go­ti­ated a re­duced Re­new­able Energy Tar­get through Par­lia­ment.

How­ever, plans for a larger so­lar scheme at Clare in the Bur­dekin look likely to be de­layed af­ter sugar miller Wil­mar and har­vesters the Brotto fam­ily last week lodged le­gal ap­peals against that pro­ject’s coun­cil plan­ning ap­provals.

Owner of the moth­balled coal- fired Collinsville Power Sta­tion, Ratch Aus­tralia, said they were “ac­tively in dis­cus­sions” with elec­tric­ity re­tail­ers to se­cure power pur­chase agree­ments af­ter putting their pro­ject on hold last year.

“The pas­sage of the leg­is­la­tion for the RET changes ends a long pe­riod of un­cer­tainty and will help us to se­cure an off- taker for the power pro­duced at the Collinsville So­lar PV Pro­ject,” Ratch gen­eral man­ager busi­ness de­vel­op­ment Anil Nan­gia said.

Ratch had in­ves­ti­gated de­vel­op­ing a so­lar ther­mal pro­ject but has opted to de­velop a 42 megawatt so­lar pho­to­voltaic plant with around 180,000 fixed so­lar pan­els sur­round­ing the Collinsville power sta­tion to sup­ply the equiv­a­lent of the an­nual needs of 15,000 homes.

Mr Nan­gia said large- scale so­lar projects were just as cost­ef­fec­tive as coal- fired projects.

“The beauty about re­new­able energy is that the fuel is free and the cost to run them is cheap,” he said.

“When that feeds back into the whole­sale elec­tric­ity mar­ket, it re­duces costs.”

Ratch hopes to be­gin con­struc­tion early next year and hopes to ex­pand it with a sec­ond stage. Mr Nan­gia said it would re­quire a peak con­struc­tion work­force of around 50 to 80 peo­ple and em­ploy up to three per­ma­nent staff once com­plete.

Mean­while, Wil­mar and Lawrence and Pa­tri­cia Brotto have lodged a No­tice of Ap­peal against ap­provals by Bur­dekin Shire Coun­cil for a 150 megawatt so­lar farm at Shad­forth Road, Clare, pro­posed by FRV Ser­vices Aus­tralia.

Ac­cord­ing to the no­tice, the de­vel­op­ment con­flicts with State plan­ning laws and the use of qual­ity agri­cul­tural land.

FU­TURE: Collinsville power plant with so­lar pan­els su­per­im­posed.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.