Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind could provide employment opportunities in Logan and the Scenic Rim.
With the rural areas of Logan and the Scenic Rim boasting large expanses of relatively flat land and the large amount of sunshine experienced in south-east Queensland, renewable energy farms could potentially be a feasible option to provide employment opportunities in the region.
Bureau of Meterology figures show Beaudesert’s Drumley weather station recorded an average solar exposure rate a month of 17.7 megajoules per square metre in 2015 and Boonah solar businessman Len law from Evolution Solar said the area does get good return on energy from solar panels.
“I run a 10.2 kilowatt panel on our farm and it generates really well,” he said.
However Mr Law was unsure yet on whether a solar farm for the Scenic Rim was the right option for the near future.
“It (solar farm) would have to be in area where the industry would be using that power,” he said.
“There is the solar farm at Gatton, I haven’t researched it for about six years, but I think its got to be somewhere where there is a lot of power being used.”
Jimboomba based solar businessman Rajan Patel from Solar Miner said the Logan area would benefit greatly from a solar farm in the area due to the growing population.
“It would, as in near future the Logan and Jimboomba areas will need more power because there are lots of new development of residential and commercial property in next five years (Yarrabilba, Waterford, Flagstone Rise, Greenbank, Spring Mountain) all these areas will have more than 20000 new houses in next five years,” he said.
Mr Patel believes an investment by state or federal government in a solar farm in the area would provide a major boost to the local economy.
“It will provide more employment as when we build solar farms we would need to make a base for the solar farm which includes metal rods, cement and concrete, it will also involve electricians to maintain the solar farm, security guards to maintain safety, and as we’re thinking 20000 houses and other commercial property use and average 15kwh power a day, means we need 30,0000kwh power every day,” he said.
“In next five years we need a minimum 100 MegaWatt solar farm, that can cover it, it will be a more than $1.6 billion investment which will increase lots of jobs for locals.”
The weather station on Millstream road Jimboomba recorded an average 17.8 Megajoules a month per square metre in 2015.
Federal member for Wright Scott Buchholz said should a company look at his electorate in view to building a solar farm he would be supportive.
“I absolutely support renewable energy projects, as long as the economic impact on the consumer results in cheaper power prices for them. My priority will always be to protect the mums and dads of my electorate from facing higher electricity prices.
“The electorate of Wright has recorded Australia’s highest cumulative total of installed rooftop solar, with 27,263 households getting solar installed. Investing in solar and renewable energy is part of the Coalition's direct action plan to reduce emissions.
“My office has played a strong part in this process by assisting with information about the Australian Government’s solar rebates, subsidies and grants.
“I have also backed solar development in Wright through my support for the development of the 3.275 megawatt Gatton Solar Research Facility, which was funded through a $40.7 million Federal Government Education Investment Fund program grant and opened in March 2015.
“To my knowledge there are no current applications for the building of solar farms in the Scenic Rim.”
With coal markets in decline globally and the demand for renewable energy increasing, Mr Buchholz said he would be remain firmly against any coal or coal seam gas projects in the Scenic Rim and stated that the Federal Government is working towards a renewable energy future.
“I am on the record, as I have been for years now, as being firmly and actively against coal and coal seam gas in this region,” he said.
“My position is clear: people here don’t want it and I support them in that. I successfully lobbied for there to be no extraction permits issued in the Scenic Rim when CSG companies were exploring for gas in the region under their exploration permits, and that situation remains.
“Renewable energy will play an important role in transitioning Australia to a lower emissions economy. In fact, renewables now make up 100 per cent of all major investment in grid-connected, electricity generation.
“Different technologies have different capabilities, which is why this government is technology neutral when it comes to generation methods.
“However, a diverse mix of technologies and fuel sources enable Australia to take advantage of its natural strengths, like wind and solar, building an energy system which is robust and adaptable to change.
“The bipartisan Renewable Energy Target (RET) will pave the way for more than 23 per cent of Australia’s electricity to be produced from renewables by 2020. This will allow large scale renewable generation to double.
“The RET also supports small-scale renewable energy by providing a subsidy equivalent to about 30 per cent of the cost of a typical household solar PV system. This has helped Australia achieve the highest proportion of households with solar panels in the world – about 15 per cent.
“The federal government is also committed to developing the clean technology of the future. This is why we announced the $1 billion Clean Energy Investment fund to help these technologies make the leap from demonstration to commercial projects.”
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