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Perdaman’s Northam Solar Venture Stirs Anger in South West Australia

A Perth millionaire planning a solar development in Western Australia’s wheat belt has come under fire from another regional community for failing to go ahead with a separate project according to ABC News. 

The Perdaman Group had planned to develop and build the $3.5 billion Collie Urea Plant in the South West by providing hundreds of jobs. The project was given the go signal from state and federal governments in 2010, but the firm has failed to deliver after it did not secure a local coal supply.

Vikas Rambal, the chairman of Perdaman Advanced Group, is now hoping to build what he believes will be Western Australia’s largest environmental solar project. He also has Mike Nahan, Energy Minister on board. The plan involves a 665-kilowatt solar system placed on top of the Northam Boulevard shopping centre and car park. He also said that this project would promote energy innovation in Western Australia. Rambal expects a 25% growth in commercial solar within the next 10 years.

However, Rambal’s plan for solar in Northam did not impress the Collie residents. In 2009, under a separate company, Perdaman Industries, Rambal presented plans for the Urea Plant saying it would bring 2,000 jobs and market for coal. This project was halted in 2011 after Perdaman was entangled in a legal dispute with one of the region’s coal mining companies, Griffin Coal, owned by Lanco Infratech. The dispute has not progressed ever since. Labor MP for Collie Preston Mick Murray believed the project would not go ahead. He also added that many people invested in Collie with the hope that the project would go ahead as planned and now there is nothing to show for it.

The state government spent almost $14 million developing the Shotts Industrial Park to accommodate the Urea Plant. The Freedom of Information documents showed the Government even recommended Perdaman should have three years free rent at the estate and a $180,000 discount on the market value for the following 3 years. Murray has since stated that Perdaman should be honest with the people of the South West and just come out and say that the whole process is already dead and buried.

Rambal stated that the government was currently working on a solution. But another statement from Nahan shows that while the government had been a supporter of the Urea project, it could not work out a deal.

Click here to read the full story on ABC News

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