A new memorandum of understanding between Gunnedah Shire Council and an international energy company could see a new 100-megawatt coal-fired power plant for the shire.
Discussions between the council and Tongyu Heavy Industry have been under way for several months, the company also exploring the possibility of turning local cotton trash into bioenergy.
Councillors decided unanimously at last night’s council meeting to sign the memorandum.
“I think it’s important to point out that this is not a legal document we are signing,” Cr Chaffey said.
“There have been several conversations between our council and Tongyu over many months, with cotton trash testing already having been carried out.
“We have also discussed the possibilities regarding biofuel created by cotton trash during recent trips to China and there certainly is a market for it.
“I think Tongyu’s involvement in our shire proposes many great opportunities for our community.”
Cr Chaffey said there was also potential for the region was a 100-megawatt coal-fired power plant.
“Nothing is set in stone, but a coal-fired power plant is a possibility, as well as biofuel sourcing,” he said.
Cr Owen Hasler said more consultation with the community would be needed before any commitments were made.
“As it stands, I am quite happy to support the understanding between the two parties,” Cr Hasler said.
“However, I feel more discussion with the community would be needed regarding any future coal power stations in our shire. It is a big decision and in my opinion it is very important to ensure this would be something that the greater community would want.”
Cr David Moses threw his full support behind the partnership between the two organisations.
“I think we should grab this chance with both hands before another shire takes advantage of our hard work,” Cr Moses said.
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