A $308 million abattoir with its own renewable energy facility has been given the green light by the State Government in central Queensland, Australia.

The first-of-its-kind project, to be built by the Asia Pacific Agri-corp near Gladstone, will have a 340-hectare solar farm adjacent to the abattoir, and once up and running, will have the capacity to process up to 2400 head of cattle per day, and create 335 ongoing jobs.

Asia Pacific Agri-Corp managing director Daniel Daly said that the addition of the renewable energy facility made the beef processing plant viable: "We looked at the energy use of the abattoir and with the way that power prices go, it left the business vulnerable to price spikes in electricity costs. With our own 78-megawatt solar farm on the site, we are able to do behind the meter or through-the-fence power deals which keeps our costs controlled for the processing.

"There was also other costs associated with waste water and removal of waste water would be considerable – so we combined the surplus of power from the solar with the waste water into an onsite hydrogen plant."

Mr Daly's project partner Leo Neil-Ballentine, a grazier at Calliope, south of Gladstone, said the cattle industry needed to keep moving forward: "I don't really think drought's an argument. Droughts come and go and I think moving forward as an industry we have to make ourselves more sustainable through drought anyway. It more than likely won't be drought by the time we're operational and as far as supply goes we have structures already in place."

Local MP Glenn Butcher said the solar-powered abattoir was great news for the region: "This development will open up massive job increases for labourers in the Gladstone region by providing employment to dozens of non-trade occupations such as cattle workers, forklift drivers, and other processing workers."

The state coordinator-general has placed 29 conditions on the project aimed at ensuring adverse emissions such as noise, dust and odour will not affect nearby residents. State Development Minister Cameron Dick stressed that the project still required some secondary approvals, including approval for operational works by Gladstone Regional Council and environmental authority permits from the Department of Environment and Science for the meat processing and irrigation activities onsite. Nonetheless, construction is expected begin around May 2019 and the facility is anticipated to be operational by 2021.