Barnaby gets a spade and starts digging for White Rock solar farm

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whiterock solar farm.

Acting prime minister Barnaby Joyce has gotten out his shovel for a large solar farm for the first time as his electorate starts to transform into a major renewable energy hub.

Joyce, the member for New England and not the No 1 supporter of renewable energy, this week marked the start of construction at the 20MW White Rock solar farm near Glen Innes, just as the first turbines from the neighbouring 175MW White Rock wind farm began producing into the grid.

In all, that represents $440 million of investment for the local community, and will soon be joined by another $300 million from the Sapphire wind farm and other projects.

“It is positive news for the New England Electorate that the White Rock Solar Farm project construction is now commencing,” Joyce said in a statement, noting the $5.4 million provided by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency  (which the Coalition had tried to abolish).

“The Federal Coalition Government supports renewables and has a legislated and efficient renewable energy target, so supporting projects like the White Rock Solar Farm show that the Federal Government is serious about supporting renewable energy production to help secure the national grid.”

The $41.4 million solar farm will be part of the largest wind-solar hybrid plant, and will form a key part of the major renewable energy hub that Transgrid is trying to create in the region.

It is also part of one of two major “renewable energy” spines that the NSW Coalition government is trying to create to support renewable energy in regional NSW.

“With other projects like the Sapphire Wind Farm going ahead, it also shows that the New England is leading the way in renewable energy production and I will continue to advocate for the region as a growing power supplier for Australia,” Joyce said in his statement.

Gullen Solar Farm

John Titchen, managing Director of Goldwind Australia said the solar- wind hybrid renewable energy facility is Goldwind’s second wind-solar hybrid project following the 10MW Gullen Solar project near Goulburn which is now at an advanced stage of construction.

Once fully operational, the 175 MW White Rock Wind Farm – the biggest project to be built so far in Australia on a “merchant model”, meaning that it gets revenue from selling electricity into the grid, rather than via a contract – will produce enough renewable energy to power about 75,000 homes, more than all the houses in the New England area.

Stage one of $400 million White Rock Wind Farm includes 70 turbines, a substation and eight-kilometre transmission line. Forty-seven turbines have been fully erected, with the installation of the remaining  23 turbines to occur over the next couple of months.

To hear our recent Energy Insiders Podcast with John Titchen, please click here.



  • john

    The absolutely startling aspect of this development is this.
    Quote from article.
    “Once fully operational, the 175 MW White Rock Wind Farm – the biggest project to be built so far in Australia on a “merchant model”, meaning that it gets revenue from selling electricity into the grid, rather than via a contract”

    So this Renewable Energy installation is going to prosper or die on a market driven model.

    But but but every conservative commentator including the said minister, who is acting Prime Minister, at the moment has cried laud and clear that Renewable Energy does not survive without subsidy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And to think he had the brazen front to hold a spade in his hand, while bad mouthing the very existence of the enterprise, is just gob shockingly two faced frankly.
    Sorry for being so cynical.

    • Chris Fraser

      Lol … He’s a different person when he swaps out that Bushie’s hat for a hard hat. He possibly carries a stainless steel spade in the boot and just smiles for the camera …

    • Kevan Daly

      No, they still get RE certificates.

    • solarguy

      No need to apologise for being cynical old son. I despise the twisted bastard myself.

  • Neil_Copeland

    That would be great location for battery storage. 🙂

  • George Michaelson

    TBF, local member vs minister does this. I lived in Kevin Rudd’s electorate, and he was obligated as local member to further their requests for a halt to a second Brisbane runway, despite being quite clear that he supported it on state and federal development grounds.

    Barney is doing his job as a sod-buster. I won’t say what I think about his other day job and what a sod he is about it..

    • George Darroch

      Yup. And that’s how you get politicians supporting the right or wrong side of an issue – when it’s easier to be for it than against it.

  • Mark Fowler

    Did they lure Barnaby in by telling him he would be digging for coal?

    • My_Oath

      Don’t confuse the ‘leaning’ he is doing in this photo with any actual ‘lifting’.

      • Mark Fowler

        Love it.

    • Joe

      No, No. No…its a fakenews photo. Bananaby is really sodding for his new HELE Coaler to be fuelled by all that CLEEEEEEEEN Coal lying around waiting to be burnt. All we needed was The Minerals Council to have been invited along for the dig-a-thon as well. I just love how Bananaby and Joshie F continue to make fools of themselves by their continual public contradictions. That they constantly twist and turn with their different messages, depending upon the audience, must really take some effort. And we pay these dudes!

  • Ken Dyer

    A fine piece of ass covering or was that a bob each way?

  • Marina Ann Makepeace

    Giles Parkinson imagine using poor grammar in the opening sentemce of a piece of writing..what school did you go to ffs and please get yourself a literary editor 🙁 !!!??? Poor poor form.

    • George Darroch

      Chill. How much do you pay to read this news? I’m endlessly informed by what is written here, and can forgive the occasional spelling mistake or misplaced comma. It’s not like you’re a paragon of grammar, Ms Makepeace.

  • Robert Comerford

    Damn, I missed the opportunity to throw a rotten tomato at him. :>)
    What a piece of two faced nonsense from Barnaby. ‘Mr Photo Opportunity’ getting credits for something he is actually against.

  • Brunel

    We should also start saying “server farm” instead of “in the cloud”.

  • Eclectic Eel

    Bad form Marina. Seems you’ve “gotten” off to a bad start in your criticism of Giles. Comma after Parkinson and “sentence” instead of “sentemce”. People in glass houses ………….

  • Robert Comerford

    A complementary pumped hydro scheme in the area would be another useful addition.

  • Marcus L

    What a hypocrite.