JOBS BOOM: Solar farm to employ 300+ workers
A SOLAR farm to be constructed at Rodds Bay worth $350 million will deliver more than 300 construction jobs to the Gladstone region later this year.
The 300 megawatt project has received a financial boost, with UK Investment group United Green acquiring a majority stake in the project's owner, Renew Estate.
Regional Development and Manufacturing Minister and Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said the announcement was great news for Gladstone and the region.
"This is United Green's first entry into the Australian energy market, and they'll add Rodds Bay to an impressive portfolio of utility-scale wind and solar developments in Europe, Asia and the Middle East," he said.
"United Green's involvement demonstrates that Queensland's renewables sector is internationally competitive and smart money is looking to invest here, particularly in regional Queensland.
"Their investment could translate into more than 300 jobs during construction and further employment during the operational phase, so this latest step is very good news for the people of Gladstone and surrounding areas."
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the solar farm would be one of Australia's biggest renewables projects.
"The equity investment from United Green is a vote of confidence in Queensland's renewables sector and Queensland's economic recovery as we unite and recover for Queensland jobs," she said.
"While there are still some steps for this project to follow, this major investment will mean hundreds of new jobs in the Gladstone region when the project is due to start later this year."
United Green Chief Investment Officer Tim Mole said the company would engage with local businesses over the coming months.
"We are delighted to be announcing our first project in Australia, in such a dynamic part of Central Queensland," he said.
"The strength of support for this project from the Queensland Government, the local community, local businesses and other stakeholders gives us great confidence in taking this project forward to construction and marks Renew Estate as one of Australia's leading renewable energy developers."
Renew Estate director Vincent Dwyer said the Rodds Bay project was a commitment to a sustainable future for the Gladstone region.
"We are passionate about the potential for Central Queensland as a renewable energy hub supporting heavy industry and are committed to supporting an energy transition there in partnership with the community," he said.
"We are delighted to have secured such a capable and experienced partner in United Green, with a shared vision for Queensland as a renewable energy powerhouse.
"Rodds Bay will not only create direct employment through jobs on site, but will create major opportunities for suppliers across a range of areas."
Mr Dwyer said the company worked with the Queensland Government to secure the investment by United Green.
"We worked closely with Trade and Investment Queensland (TIQ) to secure the investment, and we are very grateful to TIQ for their introductions and support," he said.
"We're also continuing to work closely with them to connect into local supply chains as part of delivering jobs and regional economic development."
Chief adviser Simon Corbell of Renew Estate's joint venture partner, Energy Estate said the project was due to commence early works in the coming months.
"Rodds Bay will be one of the first renewable energy projects located close to Gladstone and it will play a pivotal role in the region's further diversification," he said.
"We believe that the renewable energy industry needs to work with all stakeholders to create enduring jobs that build on the skills and experience of the local workforce."