Friday, June 22, 2012

Solar Project To Boost Far West Economy

An estimated 450 construction jobs are to be created when two large-scale solar farms are built at Broken Hill and Nyngan, starting in 2014.

Power company, AGL and its manufacturing partner have won a $130 million Solar Flagships tender.

That is added to another $40 million in Federal money for two universities to conduct research on the project and $65 million from the State Government.

The Federal Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, says the significance of the project is that it's large-scale industrial solar, connected to the grid.

"As against the homes or smaller scale solar PV 10 or 20 megawatts."

AGL's Anthony Fowler says the project size is impressive globally.

"About 2.5 million panels providing energy for about 33 000 NSW customers."

Mr Fowler says the community will be consulted before the solar farms are built.

He says contracts for use of properties at Nyngan and Broken Hill have already been secured.

"Solar for example, doesn't produce any pollution, doesn't have any impact, on the water supply, doesn't radiate any light out of those panels so we don't expect any significant community concerns."

The Mayor of Broken Hill, Wincen Cuy, says he would love to see the Silver City become the country's capital of renewable energy.

Councillor Cuy says AGL's solar and wind farm projects will significantly boost the local economy.

He says the construction of the solar plant will see $150 to $200 million dollars invested into the City.

"What a great synergy that AGL is also undertaking the wind farm here as well so we now have the mining sector starting to take some strong holds, we also now have this new renewable energy.

"Broken Hill has been famed for the resources its been able to produce over the last 130 odd years, now we can become the renewable energy capital of Australia."

He says the expected job boost is also good news for the city.

"The on-going jobs isn't necessarily huge. I think there's something between five and ten on-going jobs but the construction phase, 150 jobs.

"I'm led to believe between 150 and 200 million dollars invested into the community," he said.

"These things are just great great injections in the arm for the community."


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