Support for solar gains momentum in Warwick
PLANS for a $100 million solar farm have dawned on the Warwick community and some residents think we should wake up to the idea of a renewable revolution.
Teilah McKelvey believes Warwick should embrace the proposed development, which would produce enough energy to power around 25,000 homes and reduce emissions in the electricity sector by 135,000 tonnes of co2-e per year.
"This could really become part of our identity as a region but it's getting the community to embrace that idea,” Mrs McKelvey said.
While the proposal has provoked some heated debate about the impact on property prices and views from Mt Tabor, Mrs McKelvey said there hadn't been any meaningful arguments against the solar farm.
"I just think it would nice if the town embraces some movements forward to improving the environment, whether it be that spot or another spot, but I just don't think interrupting someone's view is a valid point,” she said.
Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie has moved to calm debates on social media, saying the development application was still at its very early stages, and the council was still waiting for more information from solar farm developer Terrain Solar before the matter could be opened to public consultation.
"The conditions in our region are good for solar and this could be great for our region, but we need to bear in mind that the community has a say in this and we will go through the proper consultation processes,” Cr Dobie said.
However the mayor did express her support for renewable energy in general.
"I think it is great for our environment and is making good use of a natural asset,” she said.
"If there could be a lowering of electricity cost that would be fantastic for everyone, especially for those in business who are facing large electricity bills at the moment.”
Terrain Solar Simon Ingram said energy generated from the 154-hectare farm would be exported into Australia's national grid.
"This will put downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices,” he said.
Clintonvale resident Rachel Small said she would much rather welcome a solar farm than an open-cut quarry or coal seam gas mine in the region.
"There have been tests around this area and Goomburra for potential CSG or quarry sites... personally I would rather see a field full of solar panels, than the noise, dust and pollution of the other option,” she said.
Ms Small said the solar farm could also present an educational opportunity for her son, who is homeschooled.
"This gives me an opportunity for another project or two for my son.”