Energy Queensland, through Ergon Energy Retail, has entered a 12-year power purchase agreement with FRV Australia’s Lilyvale Solar Farm, about 50km north-east of Emerald in central Queensland.
Energy Minister Mark Bailey, who made the announcement while visiting Emerald today, said the deal secured an additional 100MW of renewable energy for regional Queenslanders.
Construction is expected to begin this year on the solar farm and is expected to create about 200 jobs.
FRV managing director Cameron Garnsworthy said the company was delighted to be working with the Queensland Government.
“This agreement will deliver a significant new source of clean energy to business and residential customers,” Mr Garnsworthy said.
Treasurer Curtis Pitt said Ergon Energy Retail had also signed a Power Purchase Agreement for the 170MW Mount Emerald Wind Farm, as well as sugar mills and a range of other renewable energy generators.
“More than a billion dollars of renewable energy projects are in the pipeline for Queensland after three years of inaction under Campbell Newman and Tim Nicholls. Once built, these projects will effectively double the State’s large-scale renewable energy capacity,” he said.
“Energy Queensland will continue to investigate additional renewable energy generation projects to contribute to our target of 50 per cent of energy coming from renewable sources by 2030.
“Agreements like this are possible because our electricity assets remain owned by the people of Queensland.”
Central Highlands Mayor Kerry Hayes welcomed the agreement was good news for the region.
“Back in late 2015, the council approved this development, which was a first of its kind in the region,” Cr Hayes said.
“The solar farm covers an area of approximately 400ha and was selected on the basis of its very high levels of solar irradiation and because it adjoins the Lilyvale substation, therefore maximising cost effective transportation of the electricity it will generate.
“The economic life of the solar panels and the facility is 30 years, after which time the facility will either be refurbished or decommissioned. The proposed solar farm is a clean, renewable energy initiative that will positively contribute to the local economy with services and support required for the construction phase of the project.”
He said there were two other solar farm proposal applications with the council for assessment.
Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) is also behind the 100MW Clare Solar Farm near Ayr and has secured a power purchase agreement with Origin Energy for 100 per cent of the electricity and all of the large scale renewable generation certificates (LGCs) generated by the facility.
It awarded Downer the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) and a two-year Operations and Maintenance (O&M) contract for the Clare Solar Farm, and has entered into a connection agreement with Powerlink Queensland under which the project will be connected to the grid via the Clare South substation.
FRV is also looking to invest in an additional 36MW project also located in the Burdekin Shire, known as the Clare II Solar Farm, with a Development Approval application expected to be lodged this year.