Transmission work begins on Darling Downs Solar Farm

Construction is underway on the transmission line that will connect APA Group’s $220 million Darling Downs Solar Farm to the state’s electricity network later this year.

Queensland Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said Powerlink had started construction for APA on a new 350m transmission line linking the 110MW solar farm to the existing Braemar to Darling Downs transmission line.

The farm, about 45km west of Dalby, will be one of Australia’s largest when it starts operating late this year.

It will have around 400,000 solar panels installed on 250 hectares, generating enough renewable energy to power up to 32,000 homes.

“This important project is part of the renewable energy boom we’re currently seeing across the state, including in south west Queensland,” Dr Lynham said.

APA’s project is part of our $3.6 billion pipeline of committed renewable energy projects, which together will create almost 3000 jobs in regional Queensland.

“We are right on track to deliver on our 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030, with the right mix of coal, gas and renewable generation to maintain reliability and put downward pressure on electricity prices.”

The Darling Downs solar farm is expected to create 200 construction jobs, with an additional seven jobs supported as part of Powerlink’s grid connection works.

Powerlink chief executive Merryn York said Powerlink’s grid connection work involved constructing 350m of new transmission line on three new transmission poles.

“This essential work will enable the renewable energy generated at the solar farm to be delivered safely and efficiently to the National Electricity Market (NEM),” she said.

“We are working closely with APA to complete our construction works in March, with a view to energising the new transmission line in the second quarter of 2018.”

APA managing director and CEO Mick McCormack said APA continued to grow its investment in owning and operating significant energy infrastructure as part of its growth strategy.

“The Darling Downs Solar Farm is part of APA’s growing renewable infrastructure portfolio,” Mr McCormack said.

“As Australia’s leading energy infrastructure business, we see investing in renewable energy as key to supporting Australia’s transition to a lower carbon economy.”