White Rock Solar Farm sod turning

SOD TURN: Inverell acting mayor Anthony Michael, Ning Chen, Barnaby Joyce, Goldwind's John Titchen and Glen Innes mayor Steve Toms.

SOD TURN: Inverell acting mayor Anthony Michael, Ning Chen, Barnaby Joyce, Goldwind's John Titchen and Glen Innes mayor Steve Toms.

Construction on the $41.4 million White Rock Solar Farm has officially commenced.

Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce joined Glen Innes Severn Council mayor Steve Toms and the managing director of Goldwind Australia, John Titchen, at the project site yesterday to turn the first sod.

“Between all the renewable projects going ahead there is in excess of $1 billion invested around Glen Innes,” Mr Joyce said.

“It’s happening and it’s happening now and it is great to see support from the Federal Government with ARENA (Australian Renewable Energy Agency).”

The agency has invested $5.4 million into the solar farm project after selecting it from 12 competitors last year.

“That is going to assist in making sure we have reliable and affordable power online for Australian people,” he said.

“What Australia needs is this proper mix of power and we’re on track to achieve 26 to 28 per cent renewable by 2030.

“For our electorate this is a great investment.”

Cr Toms said he was thrilled to be part of the commencement ceremony and noted the benefits the project would have towards boosting local jobs and business opportunities.

“It is a real pleasure to be part of what is a whole new territory of renewable energy supply in our local area,” Cr Toms said.

“For this district to be part of renewable energy supply for NSW and indirectly into Queensland … that is something, like the tomatoes in Guyra 20 years ago, nobody would have contemplated.”

Cr Toms said being a net exporter of electricity from our district meant there would be dollars coming into this region and Local Government Area.

Mr Titchen said the project would benefit by sharing the wind farm’s infrastructure. 

“The co-location of wind and solar provides numerous benefits including the different timing of production and we see minimal loss of power with wind and solar operating together,” he said.

The project will employ 75 staff during construction and power over 7,000 homes once completed in 2018.

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