Neoen Australia’s massive 400MW solar farm in the Queensland Western Downs region has reached a major new milestone, with connection to the electricity grid in the state’s south east now complete.
The solar farm is part of Neoen’s Western Downs Green Power Hub, located 22km south-east of Chinchilla, that will include a 200MW/400MWh big battery, and is expected to produce more than 1,080 GWh per year.
Production is still some way off, with final installations to be completed and a period of testing and commissioning.
Construction of the solar component of the Green Power Hub kicked off in July, 2020 – just as Covid-19 pandemic started to bite in Australia – off the back of a landmark deal with state-owned generator CleanCo to buy 320MW of its output.
The “significant milestone” for the project was marked on Thursday by Queensland energy minister Mick de Brenni, who described the progress of the Hub as a “further proof of Queensland’s credentials as a renewables superpower.”
“This record-breaking project near Chinchilla is backed by government-owned clean energy company, CleanCo, which has committed to purchasing 320MW of the solar power produced,” de Brenni said.
“An economic assessment by Aurecon estimates the project will generate more than $850 million in overall economic activity for Queensland, with 25 per cent expected to be spent in the Western Downs region, helping communities affected by drought and the impacts of COVID-19.”
CleanCo Queensland chair Jacqui Walters said the Western Downs Green Power Hub would join the utility’s unique portfolio of wind, hydro and gas and enable it to offer reliable, low-emissions energy at a competitive price for customers.
“We have a mandate to bring 1,400MW of new renewable energy online by 2025 and through projects like the Western Downs Green Power Hub we will do this while supporting growth and jobs in regional Queensland,” Walters said.
Neoen Australia managing director Louis de Sambucy said the team behind the development of the Hub remained “mobilised towards finalising construction” over coming months.
The goal for the project has been to have the entire Hub built by 2024, with the first power to be delivered in the middle of 2022.