Solar farm being built near the Great Barrier Reef in Gladstone, Queensland
- $1.5billion solar farm project in QLD
- Farmer Greg Bennett says it’s ‘destroying’ his life
A cattle farmer says his life is being ‘destroyed’ by a giant 2,700 hectare solar farm being built near his house and just 70km away from the Great Barrier Reef.
Greg Bennett, who owns a property in the Gladstone region, in central-eastern Queensland, will soon have to drive through 9kilometres of solar panels just to get to his front door.
The farmer is against the $1.5billion Pacific Solar Hydrogen Project being built in the area by European Energy.
The European company acquired a majority stake in the Queensland-based Austrom in December last year, with intentions to build four renewable sites across the Callide and Gladstone regions, covering 6,000 hectares altogether.
But Mr Bennett has raised concerns about one of the sites that’ll be built just 500m away from his family’s home.
Solar panels covering 6,000 hectares are set to be built across central Queensland as part of a $1.5billion project (stock image)
He told 2GB’s Ben Fordham two million solar panels would be built next to his property – the equivalent of 4,000 football fields – making it the largest solar farm in Australia.
‘It’s hard to believe in Australia that you can just do this,’ he said.
Mr Bennett said the project had been approved by council and work was set to begin next year, and continue for two more years.
‘We’ve basically been told to suffer in your jocks,’ he said.
‘The thing that’s really blowing my mind is it’s 70km from the Great Barrier Reef.’
Making matters worse, the value of Mr Bennett’s home is set to decrease by 30 per cent.
Greg Bennett, who owns a property in the Gladstone region, in central-eastern Queensland , will soon have to drive through 9kilometres of solar panels just to get to his front door (stock image)
‘It’s destroying us, it’s destroying our family, destroying the district – it’s a beautiful little valley,’ he said.
‘Four thousands football fields beside the Great Barrier Reef doesn’t make sense.’
The farmer stressed he wasn’t against solar farms, but said they needed to be built in the right places.
‘Put it where it’s appropriate. I’ve got a neighbour he’s in a proper mess, we’re struggling to look after him. Me and my wife are battling.’
Mr Bennett says he has been offered no compensation for the solar farm.
‘We’re collateral damage in this rush to net zero,’ he said, adding his family would have to suffer through the sound of construction for two years.
‘This is going on all along central Queensland. We want to build it, but build it in the right place.’
The 3,600MW Pacific Solar Hydrogen Project will produce more than 100,000 tonnes of green hydrogen a year.
Thorvald Spanggaard, European Energy’s executive vice president, said it was one of the biggest projects ‘that we or anyone in the world have undertaken’.
‘We do believe that it is feasible and realistic to realise this project in 2026 not least because of the willingness of the local authorities in Australia to see the possibilities of moving ahead on the green transition and become a key exporter of the fuel of tomorrow,’ Mr Spanggaard said in December last year when the project was announced.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted European Energy for comment.
Mr Bennett said the solar farms would also be built just 70km away from the Great Barrier Reef (pictured)