Gunnedah Chamber of Commerce’s Michael Broekman says proposed solar farms could spell good news for the shire.
Both Photon Energy and Orange Grove Sun Farm (child company of Overland Sun Farming) are currently in the midst of community consultation to establish solar farms on Orange Grove Road near Gunnedah.
Photon is proposing a 155 megawatt solar farm with an estimated capital investment of $201 million solar farm while Orange Grove Sun Farm is proposing a 110 megawatt solar farm with an estimated capital investment of $120 million. Both projects would create jobs for construction and operations.
“We’re always proactive when it comes to regional development and look forward to this activity that will create jobs for our future,” Mr Broekman said.
“The jobs that these types of industries create are more high-tech jobs and is something that the next generation is looking for.
“We’re very supportive of innovations creating energy that is cost-effective, that is creating opportunities for the future workforce of Australia.”
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While the proposed solar farms would be “breaking ground” in Gunnedah, the chamber’s vice president is aware that Orange Grove residents are worried about the possible impact of flooding.
“The concerns that the landholders have in the area need to be listened to as they’ve been there and done that and lived through it but in the case in this type of development we’ve got to put our trust in the development process,” Mr Broekman said.
“The state government has put a huge amount of time to make sure everyone is considered and environmental impact statements are thorough and there’s opportunity for all residents and concerned parties to make input to the environmental impact assessment.
“So it’s important that anyone concerned keeps abreast of the information that’s put out, so they can put their views forward so this can be not only a good project but a great project for the people that are involved and the wider community.”