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Collinsville is fast becoming the solar capital of Australia after two large scale solar generation projects will be built in the Whitsunday Region creating more than 200 direct and indirect jobs.
Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox was beaming after today’s state government announcement that the Whitsunday Solar Farm and the Collinsville Solar Power Station were among six "large-scale" solar generation projects that will be built in Queensland.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister for Energy Mark Bailey announced the projects would provide 300 megawatts of renewable energy generation capacity and create more than 500 direct jobs and hundreds more indirect jobs in parts of regional Queensland, including in the Whitsunday region.
ARENA Chief Executive Ivor Frischknecht said Australia's "big solar" plants were now coming of age and ARENA's financial support meant they were "a competitive, sustainable energy option".
Mayor Willcox welcomed the announcement and said that combined, the projects are expected to generate enough renewable energy to power 150,000 average Australian homes and deliver one tenth of the new capacity required to meet Australia's 2020 renewable energy target.
“This is positive news for our region and especially Collinsville which has been doing it tough since the downturn of the resources sector.
“Renewable energy is the future and I am proud our region is not only the supplier of the best clean coal in the world but is also leading the charge to act on climate change while creating new jobs and diversifying our economy.
Solar Choice Managing Director Angus Gemmell was ecstatic when he contacted Mayor Willcox to share the news that Whitsunday Solar Farm’s 58 megawatt project had been granted $9.5 million.
“After a long journey and plenty of hard work over the last three years, we’re delighted and honoured to have the Whitsunday Solar Farm announced as one of the winners from ARENA’s competitive round,” Mr Gemmell said.
“This is a huge moment not only for the winning bidders, but also for the Australian energy sector as a whole,” he said.
“Large-scale solar is on the right side of history, and ARENA should be commended for helping to hasten its arrival with this funding round.”
ARENA would provide upfront capital grants to support the development of the new large-scale solar projects with construction set to begin early next year.
The six Queensland-based solar projects to receive ARENA support are:
• Origin Energy's 107 megawatt Darling Downs Solar Farm at Dalby ($20 million).• Whitsunday Solar Farm's 58 megawatt solar farm at Collinsville ($9.5 million).• Genex Power's 50 megawatt Kidson Solar Farm, west of Townsville, recycling the old gold mine ($8.9 million).• Ratch Australia's 42 megawatt Collinsville Solar Power Station at Collinsville ($9.5 million).• Canadian Solar's 25 megawatt Oakey Solar Farm at Oakey ($2.2 million).• Canadian Solar's 15 megawatt Longreach Solar Farm at Longreach ($1.3 million)