BENEFITS OF RENEWABLES EXTOLLED ON FLOOR OF PARLIAMENT BY LOCAL MP

Thursday, 17 March 2016

NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has taken to the floor of State Parliament to again extol the “vast benefits” renewables energy projects will bring to the region.

In a speech delivered last night Mr Marshall, who’s been a long-time supporter of the sector, said that renewable energy brought new opportunities to the Northern Tablelands and “just made sense – on any measure.”

“As all members of this House would know, I am unabashedly a strong advocate for the jobs, investment and environmental benefits that the renewable energy revolution will bring to my electorate and the rest of country NSW,” Mr Marshall told Parliament.

“In 2013, the state government released the NSW Renewable Energy Action Plan to increase energy from renewables at the least cost to energy customers and the maximum benefit for the people of this State.

“From the perspective of the Northern Tablelands, this plan is definitely working. To date we have leveraged $582 million of funding for 104 renewable energy projects across country NSW. I am very proud that four of those projects are within the Northern Tablelands.”

Mr Marshall informed Parliament of the Moree Solar Farm, sprawling across 350 hectares about 10 kilometres to the south of Moree.

“There are 222,000 solar photovoltaic panels erected almost three metres above the ground, each of them individually tracking the sun’s path to maximise output,” he said.

“It is a staggering sight and it will generate enough electricity to supply around 15,000 homes each year. This infrastructure delivers tangible benefits to the community and the region.”

The solar farm will be formally commissioned next month.

In the east of the Northern Tablelands, between Glen Innes and Inverell, Mr Marshall said there was a “beautiful wind farm cluster” about to begin construction.

“Goldwind’s White Rock Windfarm, stage 1, involves the construction of 70 turbines in the next few months,” the MP said.

“The Sapphire Wind Farm is a 159-turbine development by CWP Renewables. That company has just picked up a multi-million dollar contract with the ACT Government to provide electricity to 110,000 homes.

“The money derived from that contract underpins the finances for the development of the Sapphire Wind Farm at Glen Innes. Construction should get underway in October this year.

“This will mean hundreds of millions of dollars worth of investment in the Glen Innes and Inverell communities. There will be over 100 jobs in the construction phase and ongoing jobs to keep the windfarms running.”

Mr Marshall also mentioned progress on Uralla’s Australian-first Zero Net Energy Town (ZNET) initiative, supported by the state government and his push for TransGrid to construct a renewable energy hub near Glen Innes.

“This hub will facilitate easier and cheaper access for wind and solar projects to the electricity grid in the Glen Innes district,” he said.

“This may encourage more projects to begin as grid connection costs will be greatly reduced.

“It is all happening for renewables in the Northern Tablelands and as usual we are powering along.”

A Hansard copy of Mr Marshall’s speech
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF NSW

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

PRIVATE MEMBERS’ STATEMENTS

RENEWABLE ENERGY ACTION PLAN

Mr ADAM MARSHALL (Northern Tablelands) [4.05 p.m.]: As all members of this House would know, I am unabashedly a strong advocate for the jobs and growth that the renewable energy revolution will bring to my electorate and the rest of country New South Wales. In 2013, this Government released the NSW Renewable Energy Action Plan to increase energy from renewables at the least cost to energy customers and the maximum benefit for the people of this State. From the perspective of the Northern Tablelands, this plan is definitely working. To date we have leveraged $582 million of funding for 104 renewable energy projects across country New South Wales. I am very proud that four of those projects are in the Northern Tablelands.

I take the House firstly to the west of my electorate—to the beautiful Moree Plains area. It is a glorious area. There is a quiet renewable and solar energy revolution going on there. On the flat plains, about 10 kilometres to the south of Moree, sprawling across about 350 hectares—about 860 acres in the old language—there is the Moree Solar Farm. This is a project that is as impressive in scale as it is in results. Let us consider the scale of this project for the moment. There are 222,000 solar photovoltaic panels erected almost three metres above the ground, each of them individually tracking the sun’s path to maximise output. It is a staggering sight when you are flying into the community. It is doing great things for Moree and country New South Wales. The energy has already started flowing and the solar farm will be fully commissioned next month.

This project is funded by FRV with the support of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency [ARENA] through the efforts of the hardworking member for Parkes, my Federal colleague Mark Coulton. When fully operational the Moree Solar Farm will have a capacity of 56 megawatts and will generate enough electricity to supply around 15,000 homes. This infrastructure delivers tangible benefits to the community and the region. About 100 people were employed during the construction phase, with five jobs required to keep the plant buzzing along.

It is somehow fitting that the name Moree is believed to have come from the local Kamilaroi language and means “rising sun”. So it is very appropriate that we have a wonderful solar farm at Moree. I commend the Moree Plains Shire Council, particularly Mayor Katrina Humphries, who has driven this project through a number of iterations over many years. But this is the tip of the solar and renewable energy iceberg in the Northern Tablelands.

Over the in the east, in the Glen Innes community, wind farms are going up everywhere. There is a beautiful wind farm cluster that involves the Goldwind company which is about to construct the White Rock Wind Farm stage 1, which involves a 70-turbine development. That is just stage 1. Construction will get underway in the coming months. The Sapphire Wind Farm is a 159-turbine development by CWP Renewables. That company has just picked up a multi-million dollar contract with the Australian Capital Territory Government to provide electricity to 110,000 homes. The money derived from that contract underpins the finances for the development of the Sapphire Wind Farm at Glen Innes. That construction should get underway in October this year.

This will mean hundreds of millions of dollars worth of investment coming into the Glen Innes and Inverell communities. There will be hundreds of jobs in the construction phase, and 20 to 40 jobs on an ongoing basis. Local contractors will get an opportunity to tender for works on those sites—not necessarily constructing the turbines but doing things like road construction, fencing and supporting the temporary villages that go up when these wind farms are being constructed. I am a strong advocate of renewable energy in my electorate, not only because of the obvious environmental benefits but also because of the very tangible economic benefits. It is an industry that is new to our region, which is largely reliant on the agricultural sector. Lastly, I want to mention again in the House the zero net energy project at Uralla that is powering ahead and also the renewable energy hub, which I am hoping to see TransGrid construct at Glen Innes. When it comes to renewables, it is all happening in the Northern Tablelands and as usual we are powering along.

Mr ANDREW GEE (Orange—Parliamentary Secretary) [5.09 p.m.]: It is appropriate that the member for Northern Tablelands has spoken in the House about energy because he is as energetic a local member as I have ever seen. He gave the House a wonderful update on the activities of his electorate, in particular, the Moree solar farm out on the sweeping Moree Plains. I thank the member for Northern Tablelands for providing that update and also about other projects such as Uralla zero net energy town, the blueprint Z-NET project. Obviously the member has been working very hard on this project and it is important that he continues to update the House on these important issues. I thank him for his energy, commitment and passion to these projects in his electorate.

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