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Adani gets to work on 170MW solar farm in Queensland coal country

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Indian energy giant Adani Group – the company behind controversial plans to develop Australia’s largest coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin – is set to begin work on the major solar plant it is building in the heart of Australian coal country: a 100-200MW affair south-west of Moranbah in Queensland’s Bowen Basin.

Having gained development approval from the Isaac Regional Council, Adani Renewables chief Jennifer Purdie said work would begin on the first 65MW of the Rugby Run Solar Farm by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, preparatory work on the solar farm – including cultural heritage surveys and engineering design – has already commenced, with orders for critical equipment now being secured, the Mackay Daily Mercury reported on Tuesday.

Adani’s progress on its first major renewable energy venture in Australia stands in stark contrast to the company’s current position in the coal market, with its $16.5 billion investment in the planned Carmichael coal mine, rail and port, still hanging in the balance – and looking more and more like a massive stranded asset.

As the International Energy Agency’s latest Energy Technology Perspectives report has warned, coal-fired generation for electricity will have to be phased out by 2030 if used at current rates without abatement. This leaves the thermal coal that will be extracted from mega-mines like Carmichael without much of a market – an inconvenient truth even Australia’s deputy PM has recently acknowledged.

But even as Australia’s leading Conservative politicians refuse to accept the inevitability of coal’s demise, the transformation of Australia’s major coal centres into renewable energy hubs is undeniable and unstoppable.

It’s happening in Newcastle, New South Wales, where eight renewable energy companies have been short-listed to tender for the job to develop and operate a 5MW solar farm on former landfill site at the coal town; it’s happening in Gladstone, Queensland, where five companies have been short-listed to tender for the job of developing an up to 450MW renewable energy hub at the fossil fuel shipping port and home to a 1,680MW coal-fired power station, the state’s largest electricity generator.

“This is an exciting project in terms of its size, location, and the technology we are using,” Dr Purdie said. “This will be Adani Renewables’ first (solar) project – the first of many.”

The $100 million first stage of the project, to be built on a 600 hectare patch of the Rugby Run grazing property, will use single axis tracking systems to improve efficiency and output. Further stages are expected to take the project’s generation capacity up to 170MW.

Construction of the solar farm is expected to be completed within 12 months of commencement of construction, which is expected to create up to 150 jobs.

“We are excited to welcome Rugby Run Solar Farm as the first renewable energy project in the region,” said Isaac Mayor Anne Baker. “This project continues to diversify our local economy, and will contribute towards a sustainable future for both Isaac and the state.

“We look forward to the employment opportunities and long-term benefits that Rugby Run will deliver to our communities.”  

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  • Joe

    …’Adani Renewables’…what the hell, surely they are taking the piss.

    • trackdaze

      Seems its easier to get backing for stuff that will make money.

    • Never Blind

      The company is a leader in Renewables, maybe do some reading about it?

      Any company who wants to stay relevant in the energy sector needs to be all in with renewable, and adani is no different. Other than their mining project they are investing in multiple solar farms and a solar panel manufacturing facility.

      All these “Stop Adani” crowds are going to have to face their worst fears when they realize they have been fighting a company looking to invest heavily in renewables too !

      • stalga

        “These crowds” already know at least as much as you do about Adani. I’m curious as to why you assume “they” are ignorant. Who cares if Adani are building solar farms when they want to open up an unnecessary, monster CO2 factory most Australians don’t want.

        • Ian

          Get this frigging cancerous company out of our land. They are liars and cheats in the coal sector why should they be any different in any other endeavour? Has anyone considered that this solar farm may be their thin edge of the wedge, or their sweetener for their more unpalatable plans?

          • Never Blind

            Ohhh sinister!

      • Joe

        …’Leader’, yes…’Cheerleader’ for coal and…’Leading’ Our Reef and Planet Earth into hell.

      • Carol Tas

        Leader in renewables? Read the article. “This will be Adani Renewables’ first (solar) project – the first of many.”Adani Renewables chief Jennifer Purdie

        • Never Blind

          Pity I didn’t see this earlier – I would have thought you’d be capable of a simple google search. But then again I have underestimated the stupidity of the extreme greenies before. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamuthi_Solar_Power_Project

          Read this, if it does’t hurt your thick head too much.

      • Joe

        Adani…..they are everything that is wrong and crooked in this world. No amount of ‘Green Washing’ is going to camouflage what they really are, environmental vandals and rapists that hide their business affairs in tax havens in some tropical hideaway. ‘STOP ADANI” !!!!

        • Never Blind

          Oh NO! A big conglomerate has a caymens based holding company! Whats that? so does every single other large conglomerate? But NO! ADANI are EVILLLL!!!!! Get a grip, and just admit you are wrong

          • Joe

            Blinders my man, there is never a person as blind as a man who does not want to see.

          • Never Blind

            Did you just assume my disability?

  • trackdaze

    There we go export sunshine.

    • Chris Fraser

      Hopefully for Adani the PV will catch on. Lots of sun up in Moranbah.

  • Radbug

    If even Adani is prepared to kick the chair out from under the National Party, what sort of out-of-touch fools does this action reveal National Party members to be?

  • Rebecca

    Healthy in renewables, doesn’t make up for the health of our Barrier Reef, the unlimited use of water he has been given, when we in this country are water poor. The effect this will have on farmers of no concern to government. Another Company who’s only interest is money & that will be flowing to the Cayman Islands.