Giant solar power station for far western NSW
The Federal Government has announced plans to build a $450 million solar power station four times the size of Sydney's CBD in far western New South Wales.
The project will be built in conjunction with AGL across two sites in Nyngan and Broken Hill in the state's west.
The Federal Climate Change Minister Mark Butler says it will be the biggest solar power station in the Southern Hemisphere.
"This is a very very large scale solar project which will deliver combined with the two sites will deliver about a bit more than a 150 megawatts of energy to the system," he said.
The NSW Energy minister Chris Hartcher says the projects will be completed in 2015 and will be able to power 50 thousand homes a year.
"When you think about it, it's brought the state government together, the federal government together, the universities and the private sector through AGL and First Solar, so it's really all of Australia coming together for what is a common Australian objective," he said.
The Federal Government's Australian Renewable Energy Agency will provide $166.7 million, and the NSW Government $64.9 million.
AGL Managing Director, Michael Fraser, says he expects the project to bring economic benefits to Nyngan and Broken Hill.
"We expect these projects to create approximately 150 construction jobs in Broken Hill and approximately 300 in Nyngan. This will provide significant financial flow on benefits to both communities," he said.
"The projects are expected to add nearly two per cent to the gross regional product of each regional economy."
Environmentalists welcome the announcement.
Tony Moore from Australian Conservation Foundation says it is great to see an energy company adapting to renewable technology.
"Energy companies across the country and around the world who have spent decades investing in coal fired power and gas fired power are going to have to start changing over," he said.
"So it's a good sign that a company that's built its trademark on gas is also turning to renewable energy as the source of its future income and where it's going to go next."
Engineering, procurement and construction services for both projects will be run by First Solar.
The Shadow Energy Minister, Greg Hunt, says the Federal Government's funding is a little over a tenth of what was originally promised under the Solar Flagships program.