Mayor Peter Maguire has supported the application.
Mayor Peter Maguire has supported the application. Meghan Kidd EME251113blueridge33

Solar farm may create 200 jobs for Emerald

FEDERAL approval is being sought for a large-scale, grid-connected solar energy farm north of Emerald with the power to create up to 200 jobs in construction.

Multi-national company FRV Services Australia lodged the environmental application through Minister Greg Hunt's department over a 400ha tract of grazing land seven kilometres from Tieri, near the Lilyvale substation.

"The main driving forces for the choice of location of the proposed Lilyvale solar farm include the solar irradiation levels of the site and grid connectivity," the application stated.

"The chosen location is among sites with the highest levels of solar irradiation in Australia, which will drive the effectiveness of the photovoltaic modules plant's ability to generate electricity.

"Secondly, the site directly adjoins a substation, which reduces the costs associated with transporting the generated electricity to end users and allows for a greater capacity of power to be provided.

"Considering these factors, the Lilyvale site is first class as it has a well-supported electrical network with national grid connectivity via the existing substation."

The FRV application said the farm would represent a "positive diversification" of the local economy.

"There will be the opportunity for local workers to participate in the civil and/or electrical works associated with the project, as well as indirect opportunities for a range of local businesses, contractors and suppliers like accommodation providers, fuel suppliers, groceries and restaurants," FRV stated.

Central Highlands Mayor Peter Maguire confirmed he was aware of the project.

"Any of these proposed developments are good news as long as they conform to all the environmental standards and take into consideration the impacts on local communities and local landholders," Cr Maguire said.

"Anything we can do at the moment to provide jobs in any industry with local employment and local spend is obviously welcome."

If successful, FRV was optimistic construction could commence in 2016-17 and take about 12-18 months.

The planned operational life is 30 years.

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