Origin said this morning that the co-ordinator general’s recommendation that the plant proceed was a culmination of more than two years of project development and consultation. Before the project can proceed, Origin must now receive development approval from Bungil Shire.
But Bungil Shire mayor Robert Loughnan has already indicated the council would look upon the project favourably.
Last year, he told ABC News Radio that Origin had a good track record in the area.
“Origin has gone to a lot of lengths to try and make sure that this isn’t going to affect many of the neighbours,” he said.
“They’ve also gone to great lengths to be a good corporate citizen. They’ve actually paid Bungil Shire in the vicinity of $1.4 million to rebuild the access road.”
Origin managing director Grant King said his company’s board was expected to decide whether to proceed with the project in the first quarter of next year.
“Once development approval is received for the project, the next milestones will be securing costs for a plant design that meets the requirements set out in the development approval, followed by a decision by the board of Origin Energy whether or not to proceed to construction of the power station,” King said.
If it proceeds, the Spring Gully plant would be Origin’s single largest investment in Queensland, bringing its total spending in the state to more than $1.8 billion since the company listed six years ago.
Once development approval is obtained and Origin decides to proceed, construction is expected to take a further two-and-a-half years – in time to meet the currently forecast demand for extra electricity generation capacity. The plant would be constructed in two 500MW stages.