Two new solar farms in North Queensland have finalised connection arrangements to Powerlink’s transmission network, and are expected to produce 200 megawatts (MW) of energy.

Powerlink and Edify Energy have finalised connection agreements for the Daydream and Hayman Solar Farms to be connected to Powerlink’s 275kV network near Collinsville.

During construction, the two new projects are expected to create a peak of approximately 250 jobs in the local region, with both solar farms anticipated to be operational in the second quarter of 2018.

Treasurer and Acting Minister for Energy, Biofuels and Water Supply, Curtis Pitt, said the new connection agreements were another exciting step in Queensland’s renewable energy journey.  

“Edify Energy will have four renewable energy projects under development in Queensland, delivering more than 300MW of renewable energy to the state,” Mr Pitt said.

“These additional solar farms and news recently of these projects reaching financial close are further signs of regional Queensland’s major role in shaping the state’s transition to a renewable energy economy.”

Edify Energy already have two other solar farm projects of 57.5MW each underway, in partnership with Wirsol Energy, to connect to Powerlink’s 132kV network near Collinsville, known as the Whitsunday and Hamilton Solar Farms.

Signing these latest connection agreements means Edify Energy will have the highest capacity of solar generation connecting to the transmission network under development in Queensland.

Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland, Coralee O’Rourke, said this latest announcement was further evidence of the renewables boom sweeping through Queensland.

“In just 18 months, we’ve kick-started the renewable energy boom and there are now 17 projects financially committed in Queensland bringing strong benefits to regional Queensland, including $2.3 billion of investment and 2,200 construction jobs, with many more on the way,” Ms O’Rourke said.

“Energy is undergoing a transformational change in the way it is generated, transported and used, and as a government you have to plan for that.”

Powerlink Chief Executive, Merryn York, said successfully finalising two additional new connection agreements with Edify Energy in such a short space of time was another significant milestone for Powerlink.

“Powerlink has Australia’s most experienced transmission network connection team, having delivered more network connections on a commercial basis than any other transmission company in Australia,” Ms York said.

“We are focused on delivering certainty and solutions for our renewable energy customers.  We were able to accelerate the connection process due to the expertise of our team and the existing working relationship with Edify Energy.

“Under these agreements, Powerlink will construct a dedicated transmission line, a new 275kV dedicated substation, and will add an additional feeder bay at our existing 275kV Strathmore Substation.

“Design works are already underway and construction is expected to commence later in 2017  with both solar farms anticipated to be operational in the second quarter of 2018.  

“We look forward to continuing to work with Edify Energy to deliver these connections and continuing to partner with a range of solar and wind farm proponents to enable large-scale renewable generation across the state.”

Ian Christmas of Edify Energy said, “We are thrilled to be part of the solar evolution and help Collinsville become the Solar Capital of Queensland.

“Concluding two connection agreements in such a short timeframe was only possible by working collaboratively with Powerlink, and we look forward to continuing our relationship on future projects.” 

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