Global energy giant Acciona Energy has been selected to construct a 265W solar farm on 1250 hectares of underutilised government-owned land in Queensland.
Acciona will develop, finance, construct and operate the $500 million solar farm, located in Aldoga, near Gladstone, through a 30-year lease with the Queensland Government.
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the signing of the Agreement for Lease signalled the start of a project that will generate renewable energy and boost the local economy.
“At maximum capacity, the solar farm will deliver the equivalent amount of energy needed to supply up to 122,000 households, which is around five times the number of households in Gladstone,” he said.
“This invaluable project will support up to 240 construction jobs and 10 ongoing jobs, and better yet, the company will adopt Buy Queensland and Gladstone Buy Local procurement policies, giving preference to local sub-contractors and manufacturers.
“As part of the lease agreements, Acciona Energy will also establish a community benefits fund of between $50,000 to $120,000 per year, representing between $1.5 million to $3.6 million during the 30-year lease, to be provided to local clubs, associations and community groups in the region.
“Combined with the renewable energy that will be generated, and the lease payments that will be made to the state, this project represents a major boost to the local community – economically, environmentally and socially.”
Acciona Energy Australia managing director Brett Wickham said the company applauded the government’s foresight in “breathing new life” into an under-used area within the SDA.
“We are grateful to the Queensland Government for the opportunity to develop Aldoga,” Mr Wickham said.
“The local community will play an important role in this project, with job opportunities, construction work and long-term prospects for suppliers.”
Minister Dick said there was substantial national and international interest in the renewable energy project, with 16 companies submitting an Expression of Interest to Economic Development Queensland to transform the land at Aldoga into a renewable energy project.
“An extremely competitive shortlist of five major renewable energy companies saw Acciona Energy selected to now undertake a detailed feasibility study and to obtain development approvals,” he said.
“This could take around 12 months, meaning construction may begin in the second half of next year, and electricity generation in the second half of 2020.”
Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham welcomed the news on the Aldoga solar plant, which will connect to the grid via Powerlink’s Larcom Creek substation.
“This is another project to join Queensland’s renewable energy pipeline of jobs and investment,” he said.
“In the past 18 months, five large-scale solar projects have commenced operations bringing the total operational capacity of renewable energy in Queensland to more than 780MW,” he said.
“Another 23 large-scale projects, totalling 2200MW, are currently financially committed or under construction.
“These projects will create almost 3600 jobs during construction and boost investment by around $4.2 billion.”