Queensland is preparing to add another 16 large-scale solar projects to its grid, as the Labor state government announces new guidelines for local government and renewable energy developers.
State energy minister Anthony Lynham said an “unprecedented wave” of renewable energy investment had seen 13 large-scale solar farms built or under construction, delivering $1.3 billion in investment, almost 1,500 jobs, and more than 650MW of renewable energy to the grid.
“And the good news is there’s more to come, with another 16 solar projects on the way bringing $3.4 billion dollars and 2600 jobs to regional and rural locations right across the state,” Lynham said during a visit to Risen Energy’s 100MW Yarranlea solar project near Toowoomba.
The new Queensland Solar Farm Guidelines are the government’s response to calls from regional communities and industry for “certainty” in planning procedures. Some solar farms have created controversy in local communities.
“These guidelines are a clear checklist for local governments about what’s needed for sustainable, community and industry-led large-scale solar development,” Lynham said.
“It’s essential that communities, landholders, investors and governments at all levels can work together to make sure the next wave of investment happens sustainably.
“For traditional owners, communities and landholders the guidelines outline approval processes, technical and environmental considerations, ways to give feedback, information on the stages of solar development and what a new solar project can mean for a community.
“For industry, these guidelines provide a one-stop-shop guide on navigating government development approvals, expectations about best practice to engage the local community, location guidance and the legal framework which governs solar farm developments.”