THE GROUNDS of a former coal-fired power station will soon become the home of a major solar farm.
Many would see the change as symbolic of Australia's energy sector.
While the Collinsville and Whitsunday solar farms were each given $9.5m funding boosts yesterday, growing the number of solar farms within the region, to tap into the emerging sector would require hunting for sites that ticked a number of specific boxes.
Solar Choice managing director Angus Gemmell believes the economic viability of a solar farm is directly related to the distance it is away from a transmission substation. This is where the solar panels would "plug in" and energy would be distributed.
While he said most country towns would have an a transmission substation, the challenge was finding one surrounded by flat, cleared, broadacre country that was above the 100 year flood zone.
Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert worries it could be difficult to find land that isn't better suited to prime agriculture, like cane growing, or mining within the region. But she said other forms of renewables should also be considered.
Mackay Conservation Group's Peter McCallum said as the region had one of the most substantial tidal flow in the country, the viability of tidal power generation should be explored.
An Isaac Regional Council spokeswoman said it had received interest from organisations looking to establish renewable energy operations, and the sector presented significant opportunities.
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