The sheer scale of Queensland’s renewable energy potential has been highlighted by state-owned transmission company Powerlink, which says it has received enquiries about 30GW of new generation project, almost all of them renewables.
Powerlink on Thursday it had signed a connection agreement with Pacific Hydro for the first stage of the Haughton solar farm, what could be a 500MW project.
But it is just one of 150 potential projects across the state, totalling 30GW (30,000MW) that have approached Powerlink about connection opportunities, according to its CEO Merry York.
“We also have more than 150 enquiries or applications to connect totalling nearly 30,000MW and almost all of them are from renewable sources,” she said in a statement.
As RenewEconomy reported exclusively on Monday, the state’s biggest solar farm to date – the 100MW (AC) Clare solar farm, near Ayr in north Queensland, has begun exporting into the grid.
The 15MW Longreach solar farm has also joined the grid, while final commissioning is about to take place on the 124MW Sun Metals solar farm, which will power the company’s zinc refinery near Townsville.
These are just some of a number of new wind and solar projects that are expected to join the state’s grid over the next 12 months, giving the state a flying start to its target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030,
“Queensland’s large-scale renewable energy capacity is set to double over the next 12 months, as our $20 billion pipeline of committed and potential renewable projects starts to deliver,” state energy minister Dr Anthony Lytham said.
“Confidence in the Palaszczuk Government’s renewable energy credentials and commitment is fuelling unprecedented investment, and we know there’s plenty more on the horizon.”
A total of more than $4.2 billion worth of large scale renewable energy projects are currently either under construction or financially committed.
This will offer a combined employment injection of more than 3500 construction jobs across regional Queensland and more than 2000 MW of power.
“Powerlink expects to connect another 11 committed large-scale renewable projects over the next 12 months across the state, representing about 1600MW of renewable generation,” York said.
The Haughton project, some 60kms south of Townsville, will be Pacific Hydro’s first in Queensland.
Pacific Hydro has obtained planning approval from the Burdekin Shire Council for up to 500MW of solar generation on the 1200 hectare site, although stage one of the project is likely to be limited to 100MW.
It will create 250 construction jobs and ip to 10 permanent operational jobs, while Powerlink’s grid connection works will support another 43 jobs.
Giles Parkinson is founder and editor of RenewEconomy.com.au, and is also the founder of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and founder/editor of www.TheDriven.io. Giles has been a journalist for 35 years and is a former business and deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review.