A international energy company has been selected to transform 1250 hectares of underutilised state-owned land at Aldoga in Queensland into a solar energy project.
Acciona Energy has signed an Agreement for Lease, signalling the start of a project that is expected to deliver renewable energy and boost the local economy.
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, Cameron Dick, said, “Acciona Energy will develop, finance, construct and operate a $500 million solar farm through a 30-year lease with the Queensland Government and they are committed to Buy Queensland and Gladstone Buy Local procurement strategies.
“At maximum capacity, up to 265 megawatts (AC), 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.
“This invaluable project will support up to 240 construction jobs and ten 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 over 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.”
Minister for Energy, 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,” Dr Lynham said.
“Over 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 780 megawatts.
“Another 23 large-scale projects, totalling 2200 megawatts, are currently financially committed or under construction. These projects will create almost 3600 jobs during construction and boost investment by around $4.2 billion.
“Queensland is a state with the right renewable investment credentials and the Palaszczuk Government is putting the right investment climate in place to continue this boom in renewable investment.”
Member for Gladstone, Glenn Butcher, applauded the project as a major win for the Gladstone region which would mean jobs for locals and an economic adrenaline boost for the area.
“Projects like this happening right here in our backyard signal that Gladstone truly is open for business,” Mr Butcher said.
“Our region is proving time and time again that we can attract large-scale developments and heavy-hitting projects, which is an enormous vote of confidence in our community and our local economy.
“State development projects like this one have a huge role to play in building our region’s prosperity – these are the types of projects that will keep us moving forward as a community into the future.”
Acciona Energy Australia Managing Director, Brett Wickham, said the company applauded the Queensland 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. The local community will play an important role in this project, with job opportunities, construction work and long-term prospects for suppliers,” Mr Wickham said.
Mr 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.
“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.”