A new large-scale solar farm in the Western Downs is anticipated to begin construction in July of this year, with the support of State Government-owned renewable energy generator CleanCo.
“The best thing we can do to support Queensland jobs is to support investment in our state.
“Today we’re announcing support through CleanCo to unlock hundreds of jobs on the Darling Downs,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
Neoen’s Western Downs Green Power Hub is set to become Australia’s largest solar farm with a possible battery storage system, generating up to 400MW of renewable energy as well as creating about 400 jobs.
A power purchase agreement (PPA) signed by CleanCo will enable the company to acquire approximately 320MW of the solar farm’s output. This agreement will also enable Neoen to proceed with project development.
“As our economy emerges from the worst impacts of COVID-19, we need projects to go that will create jobs and stimulate spending, especially in regional Queensland.
“By partnering with Neoen, CleanCo will be able to ensure safe and decent working conditions are provided on this project,” Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said.
Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said that the signed PPA will help support jobs in regional Queensland as well as help grow the local economy.
“Neoen will maximise the use of suppliers and the local workforce in Chinchilla and the south-west to ensure the benefits of this development are shared in the region.
“It will also establish an annual $100,000 Community Benefit Fund that provides opportunities for local community-building initiatives for the duration of the project’s life,” Dr Lynham said.
In addition, this project will contribute to the State’s progress towards achieving a target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.
Project location (source: Western Downs Green Power Hub)
The Western Downs Green Power Hub is located about 22 kilometres south-east of Chinchilla. The solar farm will connect to the electricity grid through a new overhead line to Powerlink’s existing Western Downs substation.
Once operational, the Western Downs Green Power Hub will generate enough renewable energy to power up to 235,000 homes.
“We are 100 per cent committed to delivering this landmark deal by making the most of the region’s abundant solar resources, the use of cutting edge bifacial solar panel technology, and our experience in delivering ground-breaking solar farms on time and on budget,” Neoen Australia’s Managing Director Louis de Sambucy said.
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