One of Australia’s largest solar projects, the 300MW Rodds Bay solar farm near Gladstone in Queensland, has issued a “notice to proceed” with the local transmission company, and expects to begin construction later this year.
The 300MW (DC) project will be accompanied by a big battery, with planning approval already given for a battery storage installation of 82MW/164MWh, or two hours of storage.
In a statement on Thursday, lead developer Renew Estate said the project has passed the required tests relating to system strength and generator performance standards, and has signed a connection agreement with Powerlink.
The pipeline of new wind and solar projects has come to a standstill in recent months, affected by onerous connection requirements, lack of clarity on rules and policy, grid congestion and now the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Australian Energy Market Operator noted the slowdown when it issued revised marginal loss factors this week, but Queensland is emerging as one of the strongest regions for new projects, with Acciona landing a major contract with CleanCo last year that will pave the way for its 1026MW MacIntyre wind project – the biggest in the country, and Genex landing a new contract with EnergyAustralia for its Kidston 2000MWh pumped hydro project.
“We have enjoyed a close working relationship with Powerlink over the past 21⁄2 years and are very happy to be moving into the next stage of this project,” Renew Estate director Tom Harrison said in a statement.
“I would like to thank the entire Powerlink team for working so collaboratively with us to realise the project, even amidst the exceptional challenges we have all faced over the past few weeks.”
Another Renew Estate director, Simon Currie, noted that Rodds Bat will be one of the first renewable energy projects located close to Gladstone – a coal port that has been the centre of Australia’s LNG development. “It will play a pivotal role in enabling Gladstone to become the future energy capital of Australia,” he said.
Currie said the project developers had received interest from 400 local businesses and individuals in the construction or operational phase of the solar farm.
Renew Estate is a joint venture between Wirsol (part of Germany’s Wircon Group), Energy Estate and Beast Solutions. Renew Estate successfully developed the 120MW (DC) Bomen Solar Farm in NSW which was acquired by Spark Infrastructure in 2019 and recently completed construction and began production.
Update: The solar farm will be rated as 250MW (AC).
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