The world’s biggest solar farm will be built in Queensland after earning an environmental green tick from the Federal Government.
The Bulli Creek Solar Farm near Millmerran south of Toowoomba is expected to cost $1 billion.
The 2,000MW project is designed for construction over four stages and over three adjoining properties. These are cleared and used for cattle grazing and growing fodder crops.
The largest operating solar farm in the world is currently the 1,500MW Tengger Desert Solar Park in northern China.
The Bulli Creek project received approval under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act last week. Toowoomba Regional Council first approved the project in February 2015.
Biggest solar farm: Ideal site for large-scale solar energy
According to documents lodged with the Federal Government, the proposed site is ideal for a large-scale solar farm.
This is because of its proximity to the major 330kV Bulli Creek substation on the arterial power inter-connector between NSW and Queensland.
Environmental studies also found no threatened species present within the project’s development footprint.
Nor were there any threatened species in the easement corridor connecting the solar farm to the Bulli Creek substation.
Darling Downs’ solar farm boom
This latest approval comes hot on the heels of a solar boom in the neighbouring Western Downs LGA.
This included the approval of a 250MW solar farm west of Toowoomba in September. Western Downs Regional Council approved the project, which is located 23 km south-east of Chinchilla.
It is the tenth solar farm approved in the region in the past two years. Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Paul McVeigh said he believed the area would become “the Energy Capital of Australia”.
The Chinchilla project should generate 300 full-time jobs during the construction phase. In addition, it will create two-to-four full-time jobs during the operational phase.
Solar farms promise a great return on investment for farmers, particularly considering the low maintenance involved. Components in a grid-connected solar farm have no moving parts and the solar panels also have an output guarantee of 25 years.