PPA seals deal for $570m solar farm project in Qld

Thursday, 07 May, 2020

PPA seals deal for $570m solar farm project in Qld

Renewable energy provider Neoen has signed a 352 MWp power purchase agreement (PPA) with CleanCo Queensland in one of Australia’s most substantial renewable energy agreements to date.

The contract will enable Neoen to build what is reported to be Australia’s largest solar farm — the Western Downs Green Power Hub. The $570 million investment by Neoen is expected to create up to 400 jobs for the local and South West Queensland area when construction begins in July 2020.

Connection will be via the Western Downs substations via a new overhead line, with energy generation scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2022.

“We are excited to work in partnership with CleanCo, with whom we share the same long-term vision,” Neoen Australia Managing Director Louis de Sambucy said.

“The electricity produced by Western Downs solar farm will complement CleanCo’s hydro energy production and it will be our first project in Queensland.

“We are fully committed to delivering this landmark deal by making the most of the region’s excellent solar resources, the use of the latest technology and our experience in delivering solar farms on time and on budget.”

As per its strategy, Neoen will be the long-term owner and operator of the project, sharing the ongoing benefits of this development with the local community. The establishment of a Community Benefit Fund will provide opportunities for local community-building initiatives totalling $100,000 every year for the lifetime of the project.

Neoen is also working closely with the Traditional Owners, the Barunggam, to go well beyond current best practice for Indigenous participation, targeting 10% of the project’s economic benefits, including employment, training and supply chain outcomes.

As Queensland’s publicly owned clean energy company, CleanCo Queensland is focused on activities that help to improve electricity affordability, contribute to achieving Queensland’s 50% renewable energy target by 2030 and create new investment and jobs in regional Queensland.

Western Downs Green Power Hub will be a major contributor to those objectives, generating energy to power 235,000 Queensland homes.

CleanCo Queensland CEO Maia Schweizer said, “This an exciting initiative which is delivering a better future for Queensland. We’re delivering affordable, secure and clean energy, which is powering new jobs right across our state.”

The Palaszczuk government announced a major boost for regional renewable energy jobs with the Western Downs project.

“The best thing we can do to support Queensland jobs is to support investment in our state,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

“Today we’re announcing support through CleanCo to unlock hundreds of jobs on the Darling Downs.”

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad added, “As our economy emerges from the worst impacts of COVID-19, we need projects ready to go that will create jobs and stimulate spending, especially in regional Queensland.

“This is CleanCo’s third investment on behalf of its owners, the people of Queensland, and means Queenslanders now have 820 MW of new renewable energy in the pipeline,” she said.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Ingo Bartussek

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