The Australian arm of global oil major, Royal Dutch Shell, has firmed up plans to build a 120MW solar farm in Queensland’s Western Downs region, which it describes as one of many “great opportunities” to evolve and grow the business in the Australian market.
In an address to the Melbourne Mining Club on Wednesday, Shell Australia chair Zoe Yujnovich said the “well-advanced plans” for the company’s first solar farm proposed building the 400,000 panel project on land adjacent to its QGC onshore natural gas business near Wandoan.
“The solar project, if we green-light it, would help bring down the emissions footprint of onshore gas production at QGC,” Yujnovich said, adding that it would also support the company’s global pledge to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
“As a company that has supplied energy to Australian customers for more than a century, we understand the importance of evolving our business to market changes and adapting to customer needs,” Yujnovich told the audience at the Mining Club luncheon.
“The energy transition will fundamentally change the energy Australians need and want, and we see great opportunities to bring compelling offers to market.
“Our recent establishment of power trading in the Australian market reflects the fact that electrons will play a bigger role in that transition.”
On the subject of that transition, and the growing use of electrons rather than litres of fuel, Yujnovich also touched on Shell’s relationship with German battery maker Sonnen, which it is reportedly looking to deepen.
As Giles Parkinson reported here earlier this week, Shell – having invested in Sonnen in a €60 million (then $A95 million) funding round last May, and struck a deal to use Sonnen technology in electric vehicle fast chargers – is said to be a potential suitor to Sonnen and, at the least, seeking to increase its investment, or buy out one of the existing shareholders.
“Sonnen is a solar energy firm that is making significant inroads into residential intelligent battery systems overseas,” Yujnovich told the Melbourne gathering.
“Indeed, Sonnen has already installed more than 3000 battery systems in Australia, and has plans for growing their business here.”
That is likely to provide some interesting insight into the company’s numbers. Sonnen has also opened a manufacturing facility in South Australia, to tap into that state’s Home Battery Scheme, and also to use as a launch pad for expansion into Asia.