Solar farm approved on council-owned landfill gas site

PLANS for a proposed solar farm on a council-owned landfill site at New Chum have been approved.

Ipswich City Council this week allowed Joule Energy to build the solar facility and to expand the existing landfill gas facility on Whitwood Rd.

The gas produced will be used to generate electricity.

It is expected Joule Energy would pay the council an agreed amount for the use of the site. The council earlier this year revealed there was an intention to use the proceeds from Joule Energy to purchase green energy from the council's energy retailers for River Heart Parklands.

Search results show the land is zoned as public open space and land uses are parks and gardens and local authority.

The first two stages of the proposed solar farm would have a capacity of 1.5MW, which is enough to power 600 homes.

It is expected the solar farm could be in operation by the first quarter of 2019.

There is potential for a third stage of the project on recently capped landfill area, which could allow the entire facility to generate up to 6MW, enough to power about 2000 homes.

Conservation and Environment Committee Chairperson Councillor Kerry Silver in March said South Australian company LMS Energy, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Joule Energy put the plans to the council to establish a solar farm on closed landfill.

"There is an established relationship between council and the company on the New Chum site, with LMS Energy extracting landfill gas to generate electricity. This proposed solar farm would expand the existing operation," she said. "It would be an excellent opportunity to maximise the use of the closed landfill site, which has little alternative use."

The application was submitted on June 6.