Toowoomba and the surrounding regions offer a wide range of renewable and sustainable projects, groups and events in the local area. We’ve compiled a list of some of the companies, groups and people making an impact, and working to create a sustainable future in the Darling Downs.
Darling Downs Renewable Projects
The 110-megawatt Darling Downs Solar Farm (DDSF) is located near Dalby and was officially opened in 2019. An agreement with Origin Energy covers the purchase of all energy produced until 2030. The solar farm has approximately 430,000 solar panels covering approximately 250 hectares, and connects into Powerlink’s existing Braemar Substation.
Located just outside Toowoomba, the Oakey Solar Farm is a 80-megawatt photovoltaic project which was rolled out in two stages. The project was planned and developed by Canadian Solar, one of the largest solar companies in the world.
A $450 million solar farm was recently approved for development by the State Government. The site is 250km north-west of Toowoomba and is expected to be fully operational by 2021.
The $450 million medical cannabis farm recently received Council approval and involves construction of a 40 hectare glasshouse to produce 20,000 plants at full capacity. Anticipated to be the largest facility of its kind in the world, the farm plans to operate solely off sustainable power sources including solar and wind power.
Bottle tops are put into landfill instead of recycling Australia wide, so local startup Tops Off took the opportunity to pitch and build a company which would turn bottle caps into 3D printing filament. After winning a local Startup Weekend and placing in the top 20 worldwide, the team is now working towards scaling their idea and collaborating with other sustainable recycling initiatives.
Toowoomba Sustainability Achievements
- Satori display home for Sustainable House Day
The Satori display home by Geoff Gibson took out the prize of 2016 HIA Qld Greensmart Energy Efficiency Award Winner and was named a top national green home for Sustainable House Day in 2017.
In 2019, Toowoomba was named in the top five rooftop solar postcodes in Australia. Toowoomba has 9386 installations with 36,147kW capacity. Queensland took out four of the top five places in the list, and you can expect these numbers to continue to increase into the future.
- Toowoomba’s First Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
In March 2019, Clifford Gardens unveiled the town’s first two Electric Vehicle (EV) charging bays to be used by shoppers free of charge. The EVlink Parking stations are compatible with all type 1 and type 2 electric vehicles. City Golf Club followed later that year with a Tesla charging station.
- USQ Solar Project nets Clean Energy Council award
USQ took out the 2017 Clean Energy Council’s award for the 1.1MW solar carpal shading system at USQ Toowoomba, constructed by Autonomous Energy. The solar project was just one part of the University’s $6 million Sustainable Energy Solution.
Toowoomba Sustainable Groups & Communities
Created by Toowoomba & Darling Downs founder Kim Cahill, this Facebook group has an active community of local community members dedicated to learning and actioning zero waste methodologies in their every day lives.
A local Facebook group with over 5,000 members, the Toowoomba Region Unconsumers group is a thriving community of locals who share, giveaway and exchange a range of household items and produce to avoid waste or buying new products with short life spans.
Managed by Proven Energy, this Facebook group offers a local discussion forum on all forms of renewable energy, as well as industry and news updates about solar and wind power.
National initiative Renew has been providing expert, independent advice on sustainable solutions for the home to local households, government and industry since 1980. The organisation has a Toowoomba based branch which provides sustainable updates via Social media and organises local events relating to sustainability and climate change.
The inaugural South Queensland Energy & Resources Expo was held by TSBE in October 2019. The event was created to bring together companies and professionals from a diverse range of energy areas, including renewable energy, gas and mining through to infrastructure, engineering, construction and transport.
A national organisation with headquarters in Toowoomba, HOPE has been running environmental campaigns, educational workshops and sustainability summits since the 80s.
DDEC is a peak regional environment group dedicated to the preservation and protection of the environment, (natural, built, and managed) – and the enhancement of values which promote sustainability.
Did we miss a local sustainable innovation that’s making a difference in Toowoomba or the surrounding area? Let us know in the comments.