A new solar farm will be built in North Queensland’s Whitsundays region, providing the area with 58MW of energy and 200 jobs during construction.
Queensland Minister for Energy, Mark Bailey, said the Whitsunday Solar Farm was an example of industry confidence in Queensland’s renewable energy future.
“The Whitsunday Solar Farm is a joint initiative of Australian renewable energy company Edify Energy and its German investor, Wirsol.” Mr Bailey said.
“The Whitsundays Solar Farm is part of the new, large scale renewable industry the Palaszczuk Government has established in Queensland which will boost investment in the state by more than $600 million, creating around 600 direct jobs and hundreds more indirect jobs in regional Queensland,” Mr Bailey said.
Mr Bailey said the project was a successful recipient of ARENA funding and support under the Queensland Government’s solar 150 program, which provides a 20-year revenue guarantee.
Edify Chief Executive, John Cole, said the combination of a disciplined approach to development, federal government funding and state revenue guarantee made the project an attractive investment.
“We were able to attract the capital to this project due to the currently stable renewable energy investment climate Queensland is seeing,” Mr Cole said.
“The Whitsunday Solar Farm project has been a key focal point for both Edify and Solar Choice over recent months and indeed years.
“Securing the ARENA grant funding is a milestone for this project and will help provide the catalyst in the ultimate buildout of a very large solar project with our partners Wirsol. We welcome ARENA’s and the Queensland Government’s involvement in kick starting utility scale solar in Australia.”
Queensland Minister Assisting the Premier on North Queensland, Coralee O’Rourke, said the state has some of the best solar resources in the world and it is vital for the economy and the environment its potential is harnessed.
“Queensland-based projects that receive ARENA funding, became eligible for State Government funding and out of the six ARENA projects, four have won Palaszczuk Government support under the solar 150 program,” Ms O’Rourke said.
“The solar 150 companies, including the Whitsunday Solar Farm, are leading the charge in Queensland’s renewable energy transition will receive a 20-year revenue guarantee from the Queensland Government which will help reduce financing risk and improve commercial viability.
“Solar farms will be built right across regional and rural Queensland, including in the Whitsundays, Georgetown in North Queensland, Oakey and Longreach regions and these projects position Queensland as a leader for renewable energy investment.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to growing the state’s uptake of renewable energy, and projects such as the Whitsunday Solar Farm are another step towards Queensland achieving its 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.”
Mr Bailey said the recently released Credible Pathways to a 50 per cent Renewable Energy Target for Queensland – Draft Report by an independent renewable energy expert panel was a groundbreaking development as part of the State Government’s commitment to a renewable energy future.
“This is the result of comprehensive public consultation by an independent team of business, energy, and environmental experts,” Mr Bailey said.
“The draft report projects a 50 per cent target would have a cost neutral impact on Queensland’s electricity consumers while delivering $6.7 billion in investment and over 6,000 jobs per year, mainly in regional Queensland.
“Queensland has an abundance of renewable energy sources which are ripe for investment, and this $120 million project forms part of the multi-billion investment in a renewable energy economy which is anticipated by the independent expert panel.
“I congratulate Edify and Wirsol on their investment in Queensland. This kind of investor belief shows that Queensland has the right platform for renewable energy investment,” Mr Bailey said.