Kon Flaherty with Sharron and William Pratt holding one of the 192,000 solar panels that could soon be installed at Kelsey Creek outside Proserpine.
Kon Flaherty with Sharron and William Pratt holding one of the 192,000 solar panels that could soon be installed at Kelsey Creek outside Proserpine. Peter Carruthers

Proserpine set to power up in win-win project

A SOLAR farm at Kelsey Creek came one step closer to reality last week after Whitsunday Regional Council unanimously passed a change of land use motion.

The property's owners, Sharron and William Pratt, had requested the change of land use from grazing to accommodate 192,000 solar panels and were pleased to see the project moving forward.

Ms Pratt said the approval of the rezoning and development application by council paved the way for the solar farm to become a real possibility.

"We are excited but there are still milestones that need to be achieved before we get to the shovel ready stage," she said.

Kon Flaherty from Green Energy Technologies said a lot of hard work had gone into the project but "there is still a long way to go".

"Now it's just a matter of moving forward and getting local support," he said.

Ms Pratt said the solar consortium, made up of the Pratt family, Green Energy Technology and Soltec Renewables had also applied to the Australian Renewable Energy Association for federal funding and had been short-listed.

The consortium will find out in June if they will receive the funding.

The project would take 18 months to build and provide employment for 200 construction workers.

The 192,000 solar panels would cover an area of 89 hectares, have the potential to produce more than 100,000 MWh per year and provide electricity for 18,000 homes.

Kelsey Creek Solar Farm, seven kilometres west of Proserpine, would be connected to the Proserpine zone substation via either a 66kV underground cable or an overhead power line.

From there , the electricity would be transported to population centres in close proximity, such as Proserpine, Airlie Beach and Bowen.

Mr Flaherty said in Australia there would still be need for a "handshake" between the renewable energy sector and traditional coal fired power stations.

"Australia has two good problems to have. They have a lot of coal and a lot of renewable energy (potential), so at the moment they have already paid for the all the infrastructure for coal," he said.

"So it's cheaper... but then you have to think about the environmental impacts."

The project at Kelsey Creek would be part of a staged replacement of older technologies, Mr Flaherty said.


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