Burdekin Shire Council has welcomed the proposed ministerial call-in for a solar farm at Clare.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning Jackie Trad announced last night that she would use her powers under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 to issue a proposed “call-in” notice for the Clare Solar Farm development application.
The solar farm which will use photovoltaic (PV) modules, with or without a battery energy storage system, is being developed by FRV Australia and will cover the majority of 340 hectares over three allotments. The PV panels will rotate from east to west to ensure maximum exposure to the sun. This concept will maximise electricity production.
Inverters will be used to convert the direct current to alternating current, along with transformers, which will increase the voltage of the electricity before it is sent via underground cabling to a solar plant substation.
A solar plant substation will be built adjacent to the existing Clare substation, which is in the north-east corner of the development area, off Shadforth Road.
Mayor Bill Lowis said Council had issued a Development Permit for the project on May 18 this year.
“The project is subject to relevant planning conditions, but Council has no problem with it,” he said.
“Council doesn’t believe the land being used for the project will be affected and will still be usable rural land when the lease expires.
“Despite the small loss of cane farming land for the length of the lease, the fact is there has been a significant expansion of land for cane production in this region in the past few years.”
Cr Lowis said project could mean the Burdekin would be home to the nation’s largest solar farm.
“There is a report that shows the Burdekin has the highest solar irradiation in Australia, so it’s logical that a solar farm would do well here,” he said.
“We do not believe this project will negatively impact our shire in any way. In fact it would have just the opposite effect.
“It will provide employment opportunities with up to 200 jobs during the construction phase and supply clean, green power to the State’s electricity grid.”
Cr Lowis said Council would make representation to the Minister about why the project was good for the Burdekin.
“We are all for growing our region and diversification is one way that we can ensure the Burdekin will remain a sustainable economy,” he said.
“If we can lock in an investment of up to $400 million which will have minimal impact on our primary agricultural base, then why wouldn’t we?”
All parties have until August 19, 2015, to put their submissions to the Minister for her consideration.