$700m boost for Queensland energy projects

clean energy council, renewable energy

The Queensland Government has welcomed a $700 million advance in four large-scale renewable energy projects and the creation of more than 500 construction jobs.

The signing of support deeds for large-scale solar projects near Collinsville, Oakey and Longreach yesterday coincided with the approval of the Environmental Impact Statement for the Coopers Gap Wind Farm, near Kingaroy.

“These projects represent a $700 million investment in energy projects and in regional Queensland jobs,” Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk said.

“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.”

Energy Minister Mark Bailey said signing the support deeds which secure long-term revenue certainty for each project means proponents can 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 $122m 58MW Edify Energy Whitsunday Solar Farm, near Collinsville is expected to create 116 jobs during construction.

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 $28m 15MW Longreach project would employ 30 people during construction, and its $48m 25MW Oakey project would create 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.”

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

“The belief in Queensland by these companies shows that Palaszczuk Government’s 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.”