Australian renewable energy company Renew Estate says it has been granted planning approval to build the 300MW Rodds Bay Solar Farm, abut 50km south of the major coal and gas centre of Gladstone in Queensland.
If it goes ahead at that scale, Rodds Bay will be one of the largest solar farms in Australia, and would provide enough renewable energy to power about 88,000 homes. Construction is expected to commence in late 2018 and the project will be fully operational in the first quarter of 2020.
Renew Estate director Simon Currie says the project will play a pivotal role in the development of Gladstone as the “energy capital” of Queensland (given the numerous other emerging solar projects in the region) and will provide substantial opportunities to local businesses, contractors and workers.
“At its peak, a solar farm of this size requires about 300 workers on site,” he said in a statement.
“We will collaborate with local training organisations to ensure local job-seekers have the skills needed to construct and operate a solar farm, and we will prioritise the employment of locals in enduring roles once the project is operational.”
“More generation and competition mean lower power prices and Renew Estate looks forward to delivering the cheap solar energy produced by this project to consumers andbusinesses in the greater Gladstone area.”
German owned Wirsol Energy is a major shareholder in Renew Estate and already has what it says is the largest portfolio of solar PV projects in the country.
This includes the recently completed Ganawarra solar farm in Victoria, where Tesla is building a 20MW/50MWh battery storage installation, and the Wemen solar project in Victoria, which recently signed a deal with Simec Zen Energy that included the Clement solar project in Queensland.
Wirsol’s portfolio also includes the newly connected Hamilton and Whitsunday solar farms in Queensland, and in NSW it has the Springdale and Bomen solar projects.
“We are committed to Queensland and have over 200MW in operation and construction already in the state,” managing director Mark Hogan said in a statement.
“This is an exciting time for the solar industry in Australia and Rodds Bay will help us quickly reach our target of 1GW in Australia.”