Jun 28, 2016

Council green light for Upper Ross solar farm

Council green light for Upper Ross solar farm

A proposed $250 million solar farm in Townsville’s Upper Ross area is a step closer after Townsville City Council today approved the development application from ESCO Pacific.

ESCO Pacific plans to establish a 135MW solar farm on a disused mango plantation on Round Mountain Rd at the Pinnacles.

The council’s approval included amended conditions requiring an extended landscape buffer and three emergency access points in response to concerns raised by neighbouring property owners.

Planning committee chairman Cr Les Walker said the proposal was a big investment in the Townsville region’s largely untapped potential for renewable energy.

“Townsville is the sunshine city and securing a significant solar farm for the area adds an important, sustainable industry to our region,” Cr Walker said.

“The project will create 150 jobs during construction, and five permanent and 10 part-time jobs during its operation.

“Renewable energy is the way of the future and it’s important Townsville, as a regional capital for the North, is supporting opportunities for the industry in suitable locations.

“The site for the Upper Ross project is well away from the built-up area and has the backing of ESCO Pacific, a leading developer of utility scale solar farms in Australia.”

The facility is expected to take 12 months to build, with ESCO Pacific expected to start construction next year, subject to further approvals.

A total of 450,000 solar photovoltaic panels will be installed over an area of 202ha.