THERE are more than 1000 extra renewable energy jobs in NSW than this time last year, many of which have landed in the New England and North West.
The latest data comes from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and Uralla-based renewable expert Adam Blakester said you only had to look at Glen Innes and Inverell to see the impact renewable projects had on a community.
“It’s great to have hard data to back up the activity we are seeing on the ground in terms of employment and capital investment in our region,” Mr Blakester said.
“One key difference with this kind of energy is it is systemically linked with rural and regional areas.
“That’s where the space is, that’s where the wind and solar resources are.”
Inverell mayor Paul Harmon said the nearby Sapphire Wind Farm was a “great boost for the whole shire”.
“You could see the cafes full of construction workers from the wind farm and their vehicles parked out the front of hotels,” Cr Harmon said.
“Now that construction is winding down, you still see quite a number of maintenance vehicles sprinkled throughout the community.
“Many that moved to the area during construction have stayed on and made Inverell their new home.”
Cr Harmon said the flow on effect “cut across a large sector of the community”, and could not be underestimated.
“Take schools for example – in part, a lot of their funding and teaching numbers are based of student numbers,” he said.
“If we have half a dozen or a dozen people bring their family with them when they move here for a job at the wind farm, that sudden increase in student numbers could trigger an extra teacher or more funding.”
Glen Innes mayor Steve Toms said the White Rock Wind Farm was having a similar effect on his town.
“It brought in a lot of people to town, and with them additional dollars that were spent here,” Cr Toms said.
“It’s provided quite a number of jobs for locals in the construction phase, and for businesses servicing the construction side of it.”
“Our catering, accommodation and rental market got a big boost.”
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