Queensland is likely to get its first large scale wind farm after the regional electricity utility, Ergon Energy, offered a 12.5 year power purchase agreement for the 170MW Mt Emerald wind farm.
The wind farm, to be located about 50kms south of Cairns, is owned by Port Bajool and Ratch Australia Corporation, and was one of seven wind, solar and biomass projects short-listed by Ergon Energy in a tender for new renewable energy last December.
The other projects were two solar farms proposed by Spanish group FRV, another solar farm from Lyon Infrastructure, Infigen Energy’s 75MW Forsayth wind farm, and a biomass project proposing to generate power from chicken pooh.
One of the FRV solar projects, the 150MW Clare solar farm, was likely withdrawn from the Ergon tender because it signed a separate power purchase agreement with Origin Energy earlier this month.
However, a spokesman for Ergon Energy says it is possible that more contracts may be offered despite that the fact that the original 150MW limit had been exceeded by a single project. “Other proposals are still under consideration as part of the EOI,” he said.
The spokesman would not reveal the PPA price, other than to say that Ergon was “very happy” with the deal.
Queensland has has the lowest amount of large scale wind and solar farms of any state in the country, with no solar project of more than 10MW and only one wind farm, the 12MW Windy Hill facility, operating in the state.
Ergon has also signed a PPA to take the output from the 4.5MW Normanton solar farm in the far north of the state.
However, the Queensland government has set a target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030, and has formed a committee to outline policies that will help it reach that target. Apart from the Ergon tender, it is also offering 60MW of solar capacity as part of a tender by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
— Mark Bailey MP (@MarkBaileyMP) May 25, 2016
The news was announced in state parliament and tweeted (above) by energy minister Mark Bailey.
“To put this project into further perspective, the electricity it could generate could power a city of the size of Mackay,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told parliament on Thursday, the Brisbane Times reported.
(Story corrected to 12.5 year PPA rather than 15 year PPA as previously published).