Sunshine Coast’s solar farm burned by Federal Government
SUNSHINE Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson has taken a swipe at the Federal Government after the Valdora Solar Farm project missed out on the second avenue of federal funding.
The council was advised earlier this week the Sunshine Coast Solar Farm had been knocked back by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency for an $11 million grant.
It's the second federal blow delivered to the solar farm in a matter of weeks, after the National Stronger Regions Fund rejected the council's bid for a $10 million grant in early December in its second round of announcement. It was also the second time the solar farm, near Yandina, had failed to score NSRF funding.
Cr Jamieson this week blasted the country's leading renewable energy body for rejecting the Coast's bid on a technicality, as the council was not incorporated under the Corporations Act 2001, the sole reason for its ineligibility the Mayor said.
Cr Jamieson questioned why the 15 megawatt farm, set to offset 100% of the council's power consumption and save millions of dollars, continued to be overlooked while foreign companies were acquiring funds.
"Last week ARENA announced that they would be providing nearly $23 million in funding to the Spanish company Elecnor to build a solar farm at Barcaldine," Cr Jamieson said.
"With the addition of $20 million in debt finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Elecnor will receive more that 63% of the $69 million project finance from the Commonwealth Government while our local Council has not received one cent. We fully support the project at Barcaldine but how a local Council representing Australian taxpayers can be deemed ineligible and a Spanish company be given $23 million in taxpayer funds is beyond belief."
Who should fund a local solar farm project?
This poll ended on 24 December 2015.
The government. It's time to help move away from fossil fuels.
Private industry. It should be up to investors to fund projects like this.
Why doesn't the council crowdfund for it?
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Federal Member for Fisher Mal Brough had previously questioned why the council was acting against his advice in regards to NSRF funding, recommending the upgrade of the Events Centre at Caloundra be put forward as a priority instead, given it was a better fit for the program.
Cr Jamieson has repeatedly stated the solar farm project would proceed with or without federal funding, but this week asked the Coast's Federal MPs to explain why funding was being dished out to a Spanish company while Coast ratepayers were being ignored.
The Coast will be closely watching any funding granted to Toowoomba's Bulli Creek solar farm, which was granted council approval in February. It will be the largest solar farm in Australia.
About the solar farm:
- 15 megawatt solar farm at Valdora
- Covers 24ha of the 49ha site
- By 2017 will offset 100% of the council's electricity consumption with solar energy feeding back into grid
- Toowoomba's Bulli Creek Solar Farm given council approval in February this year
- To be built in 100 megawatt phases up to a total of two gigawatt