Queensland’s largest solar farm has begun feeding electricity to the grid, with another solar project edging closer to connection.
The 130 megawatt (MW) Clare Solar Farm near Ayr has started supplying energy into Queensland’s electricity network, pushing the state closer towards reaching its renewable energy target of 50% by 2030.
Commenting on the announcement, Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said Queensland’s large-scale renewable energy capacity will double within a year once the State’s $20 billion pipeline of committed and potential renewable projects start to deliver.
“Latest figures from the Clean Energy Council show that more than half of all activity in large-scale solar in Australia is occurring in Queensland,” the Minister continued.
“Confidence in the Palaszczuk Government’s renewable energy credentials and commitment is fuelling unprecedented investment, and we know there’s plenty more on the horizon.”
Pacific Hydro, the proponent of the Haughton Solar Farm, has also delivered a boost for Queensland’s renewable energy sector with the announcement that it has finalised a connection agreement with Powerlink for the first stage of the potential 1200 hectare solar farm located about 60km south of Townsville.
The company has obtained planning approval from the Burdekin Shire Council for up to 500MW of solar generation – the equivalent of powering 170,000 average Australian homes – with stage one of the project to involve connecting 100 megawatts (MW) to Powerlink’s existing transmission network.
“The Haughton Solar Farm will create around 250 construction jobs and implement a number of initiatives to encourage local suppliers and businesses to provide services to the project,” Dr Lynham noted.
“Up to 10 permanent operational jobs will also be created and Powerlink’s grid connection works will support another 43 jobs.”
Powerlink Chief Executive Merryn York said the company was experiencing ‘an unprecedented level of customer connection enquiries and applications’.
“Powerlink expects to connect another 11 committed large-scale renewable projects over the next 12 months across the state, representing about 1600MW of renewable generation,” Ms York added.
“We also have more than 150 enquiries or applications to connect totalling nearly 30,000MW and almost all of them are from renewable sources.”