Western Downs Regional Council’s award-winning planning scheme has made a global impact with renewables heavyweight Neoen approved for development near Chinchilla.

Neoen Australia’s 500 megawatt solar project, the Western Downs Green Power Hub, is located at Hopeland 23 kilometres south east of Chinchilla, and is the 11th solar farm approved by Council in the past 28 months. The solar farm is expected to generate up to 400 jobs during the construction phase with a further five to 10 full time staff for day-to-day operations.

Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Paul McVeigh said the project was a collaborative effort. “Council was really impressed with the standard of Neoen Australia’s application and their respect for the community,” he said. “Not only have they already undertaken consultation with surrounding landowners, but they plan to work with more community groups in the future to identify potential sites of significance.”

Mr McVeigh also said the project was a welcome and promising addition to the region. “Renewable energy is an important part of our economy in the future and it often is a great low impact industry that most in the community welcome. For Neoen to be on the same page and to respect these sensitivities shows their eagerness to work with our community to ensure the best outcomes for everyone involved.”

Managing Director of Neoen Australia Franck Woitiez said the company is committed to maintaining the integrity and cultural identity of the Western Downs region, whilst creating a better environment for locals and driving the economy. “The Western Downs Region with its high sun exposure, robust network and positive council strategy makes it an ideal location for a solar farm and energy storage facility,” said Franck. “We are thrilled to be advancing the development of the Western Downs Green Power Hub, which we believe will bring significant economic benefits and job creation to the Western Downs region. The project also builds on the region’s status as the Energy Capital of Queensland and will help to contribute to the state’s target of 50% renewable electricity by 2030.”

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