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Agreement locks in construction of Queensland’s largest solar farm

The Victorian Government has released new planning guidelines for large scale solar farms to inform decision makers, developers and communities.

A landmark power purchase agreement will allow for the construction of Australia’s largest solar farm, the $570 million Western Downs Green Power Hub in south east Queensland.

CleanCo Queensland has agreed to purchase 352-megawatt peak from renewable energy provider Neoen for Powerlink Queensland’s transmission network.

CleanCo, a publicly owned clean energy company, aims to improve electricity affordability and contribute to the state’s 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.

The agreement is CleanCo Queensland’s second renewable offtake agreement since it was established in December 2018.

It will contribute more than 30 per cent of the energy required for CleanCo Queensland to meet its target of one gigawatt of new renewable energy generation by 2025.

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The Western Downs Green Power Hub, located near Chinchilla, will generate enough energy to power 235,000 Queensland homes, equivalent to every house on the Sunshine Coast.

Building the solar farm is expected to create up to 400 jobs for the local and South West Queensland area when construction begins in July.

Connection will be through the Western Downs substations, via a new overhead line. Energy generation is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2022.

Neoen Australia Managing Director Louis de Sambucy said the company is excited to work in partnership with CleanCo.

“The electricity produced by Western Downs solar farm will complement CleanCo’s hydro energy production and it will be our first project in Queensland,” de Sambucy said.

“We are fully committed to delivering this landmark deal by making the most of the region’s excellent solar resources, the use of the latest technology and our experience in delivering solar farms on time and on budget.

“We look forward to Western Downs becoming a lighthouse project in achieving excellent regional economic and local community outcomes that will be needed in the aftermath of COVID-19’s impact on the economy. This will also help the Queensland government work towards its ambitious target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.”

CleanCo Queensland’s inaugural CEO Maia Schweize said this an exciting initiative which is delivering a better future for Queensland.

“We’re delivering affordable, secure and clean energy, which is powering new jobs right across our state,” Schweize said.

Powerlink Queensland Interim Chief Executive Kevin Kehl said the Western Downs Green Power Hub is extremely well positioned to connect to the national grid via Powerlink’s transmission network.

“This project will bring Queensland to 2000 MW of large-scale renewable generation connected to the transmission network in the state,” Kehl said.

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