Spanish renewable energy and infrastructure company Acciona Energy has won a contract from the Queensland government to transform 1,250 hectares of state-owned land at Aldoga, outside Gladstone in Queensland, into a 265MW solar farm to power up to 122,000 homes.
The project is part of Queensland’s goal of generating half of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said that the signing of an agreement for lease signalled the commencement of a project that will generate renewable energy and boost the local economy.
He said: “Acciona Energy will develop, finance, construct and operate a $500m solar farm through a 30-year lease with the Queensland government and they are committed to Buy Queensland and Gladstone Buy Local procurement strategies.
“At maximum capacity, up to 265MW (AC), will deliver the equivalent amount of energy needed to supply up to 122,000 households, which is around five times the number of households in Gladstone.
“This invaluable project will support up to 240 construction jobs and 10 ongoing jobs, and better yet, the company will adopt Buy Queensland and Gladstone Buy Local procurement policies, giving preference to local sub-contractors and manufacturers.
“As part of the lease agreements, Acciona Energy will also establish a community benefits fund of between $50,000 to $120,000 per year, representing between $1.5m to $3.6m over the 30-year lease, to be provided to local clubs, associations and community groups in the region.”
The site is located adjacent to Powerlink’s Larcom Creek substation. The Aldoga solar plant will connect to the grid via Powerlink’s Larcom Creek substation.
Energy Minister Anthony Lynham said: “This is another project to join Queensland’s renewable energy pipeline of jobs and investment.
“Over the past 18 months, five large-scale solar projects have commenced operations bringing the total operational capacity of renewable energy in Queensland to more than 780MW.
“Another 23 large-scale projects, totalling 2,200MW, are currently financially committed or under construction.
These projects will create almost 3,600 jobs during construction and boost investment by around $4.2bn.”
A detailed feasibility study is now underway to obtain development approvals.
Acciona Energy Australia managing director Brett Wickham said: “This could take around 12 months, meaning construction may begin in the second half of next year, and electricity generation in the second half of 2020.”