Squadron Energy CEO Jason Willoughby says renewable energy can bring jobs and lower cost power.

Written by Squadron Energy |

When a mayor is not seeing local benefits from a renewables project, there is something wrong.

The concerns voiced by Goondiwindi Mayor Lawrence Springborg recently show the industry needs to do better when sharing the benefits with communities. Because the truth is, wind farms do bring enormous benefit to regional communities, and jobs are core to this.

The real impact takes place along the entire supply chain – creating thousands of jobs across a wide range of industries. In addition to the big civil and electrical contracts awarded, there are countless other contracts which require local services using local businesses and suppliers.

Renewable projects are also key to bringing down crippling energy bills for families and businesses, who are being penalised for Australia’s unreliable, aging coal power stations and international factors outside their control.

Cheaper electricity bills will only happen when we have considerably more renewable generation in the grid.

We’ve just had our hottest July on record. There is a climate emergency and we can’t afford to delay the renewable energy transition.

Australia needs reliable, firmed renewable generation at speed and scale.

Queensland can be a renewables superpower. It has swifter and more streamlined approval and connection processes compared to eastern jurisdictions. The Maroons are ahead in this sense.

The Queensland Government’s review of wind farm development requirements is welcome – creating clearer benchmarks is a win for everyone.

It means we can expedite the transition to renewable energy while ensuring the right mitigations are in place and that regional communities share in the economic benefits.

We want the best outcomes for local communities and measures that can support this goal.

Squadron Energy has hired 60 people in the past few months, 40% of those hailing from the Sunshine State.

Many will be working on Clarke Creek Wind Farm which is in construction in Central Queensland. This project has many local, regional and Queensland contractors on board. The 450MW first stage will help power 330,000 homes while creating 350 direct jobs and supporting $110m in regional investment.

Squadron Energy’s 20GW development pipeline will create more than 6,000 direct jobs across construction and operations, and thousands more indirect jobs.

Every wind and solar farm project delivered provides an opportunity to bring benefits to local communities, while bringing down power prices and building towards a cleaner future for us all.

This opinion piece was first published in the Courier Mail on 18 August 2023.


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