The Remote Area Planning and Development Board will work with renowned economist and clean energy leader Ross Garnaut AO in Longreach this week to start work on targeting renewable energy projects which will deliver jobs and benefits across the region.
Professor Ross Garnaut will be attending the Western Queensland Local Government Conference and touring the region this week.
Longreach Regional Council Mayor and RAPAD Board Director Ed Warren says because the region has plenty of sunshine and space, the central west has a competitive advantage in terms of solar energy generation.
“We haven’t cashed in on that advantage, instead we have large scale solar farms which are not creating long term jobs, not lowering our local electricity prices, not improving our supply or attracting power hungry industries,” said Councillor Warren
RAPAD member councils are focussing on how they can take practical steps to solve local issues and maximise local opportunities.
“We welcome large scale solar farms, but we want to work with Professor Garnaut and others to develop a plan that will see renewable energy grow 10 new on-going jobs over the next 12 to 24 months,” he said.
“Sitting down with Professor Garnaut in Longreach is the next step on this path where we start to focus on evaluating and prioritising specific local issues and opportunities, so we can maximise the economic and social benefits for our communities” Cr Warren said.
RAPAD’s Senior Regional Development Officer Morgan Gronold is currently identifying a small group of industry experts to assist Professor Garnaut with this process. Those chosen will have energy knowledge, entrepreneurial spirit, appreciation for urgency, and have a reputation for making things happen. The initial meeting of this group is planned for May 2019.
“These discussions and the information we develop as part of this process puts us in a better position to engage with the Queensland Government and private business to help us deliver in our region, for our region. Through each of these projects we are keeping an eye on the future and aiming to ensure we are a more diversified region better able to withstand whatever the future holds,” Mr Gronold said.
The RAPAD renewable energy vision is for our region to generate Queensland’s electricity needs from renewable energy, in turn facilitating transformative economic and social benefit for our region, while becoming an energy superpower of the low carbon world.