The Queensland Government is investing $700 million in four large-scale renewable energy projects, signing support deeds for three solar projects in Collinsville, Oakey and Longreach, and gaining approval for the environmental impact statement for the Coopers Gap wind farm.

The three solar projects include:

  • Edify Energy’s 58MW megawatt Whitsunday Solar Farm is a $122 million project, and is expected to create 116 jobs during construction
  • Canadian Solar’s 15MW megawatt Longreach Solar Farm is a $29 million project, and is expected to create 30 jobs during construction
  • Canadian Solar’s 25MW megawatt Oakey Solar Farm is a $48 million project and is expected to create 50 Jobs during construction.

Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said the projects would create more than 500 construction jobs in regional Queensland.

“My Government is committed to ensuring the security of Queensland’s future energy needs through a mix of coal and gas fired power stations, along with a growing share for large-scale renewable energy projects,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“The confidence shown in Queensland’s renewable future by these leading energy companies, from overseas and interstate, shows that my government’s policy settings have created an environment ripe for serious and sustainable investment.

“These projects underline the vital role that regional Queensland is already playing in our transition to a renewable energy economy.”

Ms Palaszczuk, who will meet with AGL Chief Executive Officer, Andy Vesey, said the Coopers Gap wind farm was part of the Powering Australian Renewables Fund (PARF) between AGL, QIC and the federal government’s Future Fund.

The PARF is targeting the development of 1000MW of large-scale renewable energy projects.

Queensland Energy Minister, Mark Bailey, said signing the support deeds that secured long-term revenue certainty for each project meant proponents could now confirm investor funding and begin construction.

“The execution of these deeds locks in Queensland’s Solar 150 long-term commitment to these projects, guaranteeing financial security and enabling these projects to reach financial close,” Mr Bailey said.

“This confirmation of the Whitsunday, Oakey and Longreach solar projects’ inclusion in the state’s Solar 150 program provides a 20-year revenue guarantee, meaning financial contracts can now be delivered and construction can begin.

“These projects are a sign of the times for regional Queensland’s major role in shaping the state’s transition to a renewable energy economy, and during construction will bring 196 much-needed jobs to the regions.”

The Edify Energy Whitsunday Solar Farm, near Collinsville is a 58MW project worth $122 million. During construction it is expected to create 116 jobs.

Edify Energy Chief Executive, John Cole, said with the deed signing complete, he expected to finalise investment and begin construction in the near future.

“We look forward to the Whitsunday Solar Farm delivering clean green energy to the people of North Queensland and jobs to the Collinsville area,” Mr Cole said.

“The Queensland Government’s Solar 150 program, and the federal government’s ARENA large scale solar grant funding program had been instrumental in securing investment from our long term equity partner, Wirsol, to make the project a reality.

“We hope to build on the momentum the Whitsunday Solar Farm has provided to advance further projects in Queensland in very short order.”

Canadian Solar’s General Manager Daniel Ruoss said the $28 million, 15MW Longreach project would employ 30 people during construction, and its $48 million 25MW Oakey project would bring with it 50 construction jobs.

“Since 2014, Canadian Solar has been investing millions of dollars in Queensland for project developments and the company collaborates closely with local stakeholders to maximise the benefits for the local region and its communities,” Mr Ruoss said.

“We expect to begin construction on both projects in May 2017 and be grid connected in early 2018.

“The Oakey project will also have a second stage involving an additional 55MW commencing construction in the second half of 2017.

“We’ve chosen Queensland for our investment because of its world-class resources, great infrastructure and a forward looking government. Queensland is truly the Sunshine State.”

Mr Bailey said Canadian Solar and Edify Energy were major players in the international renewable industry.

“The belief in Queensland by these companies shows that Palaszczuk Government is providing a renewable energy policy that is ripe for investment,” Mr Bailey said.

“Upon completion, these projects will supply a combined 98MW of clean energy into the surrounding regions, bringing more generation capacity to the surrounding communities and industries.

“These projects also further secure Queensland’s place as a leader on the world’s solar energy stage. They’ll provide clean, renewable energy for our grid, and importantly jobs for our regions and the certainty that comes with them.”

Lauren brings a fresh approach to content. While she’s previously written for publications as diverse as Australian Geographic, The Border Watch and Girlfriend, she’s found her true passion in her current role as an editor in the world of energy and infrastructure trade magazines.

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