Game-changing power plant proposed for Toowoomba
AN AUSTRALIA-first hybrid gas and solar micro-grid plant generating 150 megawatts of electricity an hour just west of Toowoomba has been hailed as a game changer for the region by its developer.
All it needs is approval from the Toowoomba Regional Council.
Applicant FKG Group submitted its plans this month to the council for the micro-grid renewable energy project to generate power for the company's pioneering Toowoomba Technology Park.
According to the planning report from Icubed Consulting's Elizabeth Cruice, the project will be built on 14 lots covering 264 hectares off Witmack Rd at Charlton.
Having already built and opened the $40 million Pulse Data Centre earlier this year, FKG Group property development manager Dallas Hunter said the park needed reliable and cheap electricity to meet user needs.
"Rising energy costs are a challenge for all businesses, including in Toowoomba," he said.
Do you support the new gas-solar project?
This poll ended on 31 May 2018.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
"Having affordable, cleaner power available to the new precinct should significantly enhance its attractiveness to businesses from Australia or overseas considering investing in the fast-growing region.
"FKG Group is working with experienced international contractors such as AECOM and Siemens to ensure the new power plant has the latest state-of-the-art features.
"We expect significant benefits from this infrastructure for Toowoomba and will ensure the local community is closely consulted over its development."
Mr Hunter said the project could cement Toowoomba as a regional technological centre.
"Potentially, we can change Toowoomba as a regional centre by doing this," he said.
"Everyone we're dealing with on this, they hope this works so they can replicate it in other centres across Australia."
WHAT WILL IT POWER?
ON TOP of supplying constant electricity to the $40 million Pulse Data Centre, the new gas-solar plant is expected to power FKG Group's Toowoomba Technology Park at Wellcamp and Charlton.
Mr Hunter said the company would also submit to the council a 30-hectare glasshouse facility to produce high-yield vegetable crops, which would benefit from the carbon dioxide produced by the plant.
"The high-tech glasshouses are the first one of those projects and it will use 20MW. It's a big power user," he said.
"We've got some other existing industrial uses that it will power, but it's really just built so we can bring new uses in.
"We're also looking to bring food processing plants into the site."
Mr Hunter said the initial goal for building a private power grid was to offer an unbeatable data storage option for companies looking for digital storage space.
"We wanted to show we had the cheapest power for data centres. We wanted something that was disruptive to this market," he said.
"We're talking a significant reduction in electricity prices."