Fears of solar impact on agricultural land
“IT’S deja vu of the CSG industry.”
That’s how Chinchilla cotton grower Brian Bender has described the current influx of solar energy projects in the region.
“I believe this solar industry, it’s a carbon copy of the gas industry at the moment,” he said.
Last month, Mr Bender received a letter from juwi Renewable Energy, a German energy company, informing him of a potential solar farm site near his property in Chances Plains.
He said he was disappointed by the letter which did not state which block the company was interested in developing.
The letter advised Mr Bender to attend a community forum discussing solar farm development in Queensland, held last month by the State Government in Dalby, to learn more about the solar industry.
The session sought feedback on draft Queensland solar power guidelines which will be finalised later this year.
But Mr Bender said he did not feel reassured about the future of the solar power industry, and how it might impact his business, after the session.
While juwi Renewable Energy is yet to lodge a development application with the Western Downs Regional Council, a spokeswoman said the company was four to six weeks away from doing so.
Mayor Paul McVeigh said he was “pleased to hear this energy company is talking to the community”.
Cr McVeigh said the council was “happy to have those communications” with concerned residents regarding potential energy projects and said the council had previously been involved with renegotiations to amend project plans.
Cr McVeigh said the council had not allowed solar farms to be built on top-quality agricultural land, but solar farms could benefit the region more than traditional agriculture.
SOLAR BLUES: Brian Bender doesn't want to see solar farms on good agricultural land.