Employment bonanza: Peel solar farm to create 2000 new jobs

A new renewable energy micro-grid project announced today in the Peel Business Park is being tipped to create up to 2000 local jobs.

A consortium led by Enwave Australia is set to develop Australia's first industrial solar farm at the Nambeelup facility.

West Australian Lands Minister Ben Wyatt said the project would create 1862 jobs, with a further 2000 local jobs once the park was fully built out.

"The McGowan government's vision for the Peel Business Park is a place where business, industry, training, research and development come together, invigorating the Peel region and creating jobs that cannot be achieved without providing a secure and affordable power supply," he said.

"In planning the micro-grid project, it has been estimated that the renewable energy mix will help reduce power usage costs to business by around 30 per cent off regulated bundled energy tariffs.

"This is a smart, sustainable solution for a broader project that will be built on innovation."

WA Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan said it was a "forward-thinking" project.

"The microgrid offers a clear incentives for businesses to relocate to the Peel Business Park, helping to drive job creation in the Peel region," she said.

"The Peel Business Park and Transform Peel are part of the McGowan government's commitment to driving industry diversification, investment and job opportunities in our regional centres."

The state government project the business park will add about $1 billion into WA's economy each year once operational.

Peel Chamber of Commerce and Industry general manager Andrew McKerrell said it was a positive initiative.

"The Chamber and indeed the business community have locked horns with the McGowan government over many issues, but credit where it is due - the Transform Peel Project, led by Andrew Ward and the team in the Peel Development Commission, is kicking goals," he said.

"Additionally, we at the grassroots level are seeing some incredibly innovative ideas and initiatives coming through, and again, credit to the Minister for Regional Development whose RED Grant program will assist in making these ideas a reality."

Peel Development Commission chair Paddi Creevey said establishing an industrial estate in the Peel region that spans 1000 hectares required not only a significant level of investment, but also a commitment to innovation.

"The microgrid is a major point of difference in innovation for the Peel Business Park and is amplified by the park's overall 'package' including proximity to major existing transport infrastructure enabling national and international distribution and logistics, university led research and development, and a focus on technology driven agri-food and agri-processing operations," she said.

"The collaboration between the Peel Development Commission, LandCorp and the Shire of Murray has laid the foundation for the Peel Business Park, which a major pillar of Transform Peel's three strategic elements.

"The Transform Peel initiative is a long term project that addresses the need to create more jobs through enabling industry investment, export capability and skills diversification.

"One of the major costs of doing business is the cost of power. This represents a renewable, cost-effective power source. The microgrid will lower those costs to businesses moving to the Park. This offers a unique opportunity to be more efficient, competitive and sustainable."

Shire of Murray president David Bolt said the Shire was looking forward to being one of the first users of the microgrid through the establishment of the Agri-Innovation Precinct.

"The microgrid will reduce the Precinct's carbon footprint and the anticipated cost-saving will bolster the Precinct's competitive advantage, especially considering heavy electricity consumption components such as its Cold Storage Facility," he said.

"The Peel Business Park and microgrid are integral components of the Shire's strategic intent to ensure that science, research, innovation and technology drive the future economy of Murray.

"The Shire is an active advocate and proud host of the Peel Business Park."