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Eco Energy gets approval for three more Qld solar farms

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European renewable energy developer Eco Energy World looks to have passed the half-way mark of its pledge to develop a minimum 1GW of solar projects in Australia by 2019, with the approval of three new grid-connected projects totalling 410MW.

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The newly approved Queensland projects, which include EEW’s largest to-date – the 280MW solar farm in Bouldercombe – bring the company’s “ready to build” solar portfolio to a total of 570MW, including its previously secured grid and planning for 160MW.

In October last year, EEW secured planning consent for a its first 140MW solar park near Maryborough, on Queensland’s Fraser Coast, followed by the approval of its proposed 20MW solar park near Chinchilla in the state’s Western Downs region.

As we reported at the time, the projects were believed to be likely to be developed along a “merchant” model, meaning EEW would source revenues from the spot market for electricity and large-scale renewable energy certificates rather than waiting for a power purchase agreement.

In a statement on Tuesday the company said the new solar plants would feed directly into the state grid, but were not limited to supplying Queensland only, with potential also to supply New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

“Queensland has huge potential for solar energy with its high irradiance, good infrastructure and availability of land,” said EEW chairman Svante Kumlin.

“These projects will contribute to Queensland’s target to reach 50% renewable energy generation … (and) increase the utility solar generation by approximately 410 MW and will create new opportunities for the (Bouldercombe, Yarranlea and Broadlea) communities, including adding hundreds of jobs and services,” Kumlin said.

EEW said all of its solar projects were slated to start construction in Q3 2017, and to be connected to the grid from late Q4 2017 to Q2 2018.  

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  • Chris Drongers

    Wow! With all this daytime solar coming on daytime power prices will be low so coal generators will have to really up their game to push evening peak prices to stratospheric levels. Thankfully the Wivenhoe pumped storage seems to be unuse(able).

    • Ian

      40% of 6.4 GW is 2.6 GW solar before the Queensland grid does a wobble. You can see how hungry these developers are for the LGC’s. There’s not a huge market for utility solar in Australia considering the enormity of the resource and the cheapness of developing it. Any developer would be wise to get in quick before the market for utility solar electricity is saturated.

      There may be a hiatus in the capacity of the grid to absorb more utility solar once a ?2.6GW limit is reached but battery storage and EV may increase this limit, or maybe reduce it ( by enabling more distributed generation)

      We really need some proper scenario planning (without the coal and gas blinkers) to predict the needs of a totally renewables grid.

    • Chris Schneider

      Are you saying there is something actually wrong with the Wivenhoe system (as in you know). It has been strange seeing Queensland’s Hydro not contributing to the balancing of the AEMO network. Most of it seems to have fallen on Tasmania. but it would be great to use our existing pumped hydro to keep a lid on prices.

      That plant has 10 hours @ 500MW which would mean a lot for our peak morning and evening issue!
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wivenhoe_Power_Station

      • Chris Drongers

        AFAIK WIvenhoe pumped storage is fine. The argument as to why it hasn’t been used a lot recently is that it would reduce peak generation prices (which is why it was built) and reduce the Qld gov trading corp (Stanwell?) profits. It would be too effective in storing cheap overnight power to reduce morning and evening peaks