Renew Estate is expected to start construction on its Rodds Bay solar farm before the end of the year.
Renew Estate is expected to start construction on its Rodds Bay solar farm before the end of the year. Contributed / WDRC

Solar farm to create 300 jobs for Gladstone

GLADSTONE will soon be home to one of the largest solar farms in Australia, after Renew Estate gained approval for its 300-megawatt facility.

The Australian renewable energy company plans to build its facility at Rodds Bay, near Bororen, to provide enough power for about 88,000 homes.

Building is expected to start late this year, with local workers prioritised, and the facility is expected to be fully operational by the first quarter in 2020.

Director Simon Currie said the project would be pivotal in developing Gladstone as the renewable energy capital of Queensland.

It is one of three solar farms planned for Gladstone, with Eco Energy World's plant at Raglan and Acciona Energy's solar farm at Gladstone State Development Area.

"At its peak, a solar farm of this size requires about 300 workers on site," Mr Currie said.

"We will collaborate with local training organisations to ensure local job-seekers have the skills needed to construct and operate a solar farm, and we will prioritise the employment of locals in enduring roles once the project is operational.

"More generation and competition mean lower power prices and Renew Estate looks forward to delivering the cheap solar energy produced by this project to consumers and businesses in the greater Gladstone area."

Wirsol Energy, a major shareholder of Renew Estate, already has 200MW of solar power in operation and construction in Queensland. and the company has a goal of reaching 1GW in Australia.

Managing director Mark Hogan said the Rodds Bay plant would be important in helping the company reach its target.

Gladstone Regional Council gave the facility planning approval last week with 40 conditions.

Renew Estate is looking for an alternative site to build a second solar farm, after it put on hold plans for its Yarwun project due to the backlash from residents.