Renewable energy company Neoen has unveiled plans to build a new $570m solar farm near Chinchilla in Queensland. The project will be Australia’s largest solar farm, and is expected to generate more than 400 jobs in the region.
Western Downs Green Power Hub
Construction of the new 460-480 mWp site is scheduled to begin in July 2020, opening up more than 400 jobs. Neoen has also announced a 352 mWp power purchase agreement has been signed with CleanCo Queensland. CleanCo will be distributing the power generated at the massive new solar site, and Neoen Australia’s managing director Louis de Sambucy was excited by today’s announcement.
“We are fully committed to delivering this landmark deal by making the most of the region’s excellent solar resources, the use of the latest technology and our experience in delivering solar farms on time and on budget.
“We look forward to Western Downs becoming a lighthouse project in achieving excellent regional economic and local community outcomes that will be needed in the aftermath of COVID-19’s impact on the economy,” said Mr de Sambucy in a statement.
Community Benefits for Queensland
Powerlink Queensland interim chief executive Kevin Kehl has stated that renewable energy from the Western Downs Green Power Hub was well positioned to connect to the national energy grid via Powerlink’s network. In a huge boost for renewable energy in Queensland, the new hub will be able to bring 2000 MW of large-scale renewable energy to the state.
In addition, as the long-term owner of the site, Neoen has promised to establish a community benefit fund of $100,000 every year for the life of the project. As the state recovers from the bushfire crisis and Covid-19 pandemic, this is a massive benefit to the community.
Neoen has also stated they will be going over and above expectations for Indigenous participation, aiming to put 10% of economic benefits back into the local Barunggam community by way of employment, training and supply chain.
The project is expected to begin delivering renewable energy in the first quarter of 2022.