New solar project provides jobs boost to the Western Downs

Published Friday, 28 August, 2020 at 05:00 AM

Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy
The Honourable Dr Anthony Lynham

New solar project provides jobs boost to the Western Downs

Construction starts this month on a multi-million dollar solar farm in south-west Queensland, creating 400 jobs from this month, thanks to a sales deal with publicly-owned CS Energy.

Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham today announced that Hana Financial Investment would build the 162 megawatt Columboola Solar Farm to be built between Chinchilla and Miles.

UK-based project developers Luminous Energy today also announced financial close on the solar farm project and its concurrent sale to Hana.

“Queensland has an economic plan for post-COVID recovery and affordable, reliable energy supply underpins that plan,” Dr Lynham said.

“That plan includes investing in traditional infrastructure and supporting the renewables industry because that supports jobs.

“This project will mean another 400 jobs for the renewable energy powerhouse of the Western Downs, with construction to begin this month.

“With the government’s new renewable energy zone initiative for South-West Queensland, Columboola is set to be followed by ongoing new renewable energy projects and jobs.”

 “Queensland is forecast to reach 20 per cent renewable generation this year and projects like this continue to drive us to our target of 50 per cent by 2030.”

The Columboola Solar Farm takes Queensland’s tally of financially committed or operational large-scale renewable energy projects to 41 since 2015.

CS Energy will buy 100 per cent of the output of the solar farm and on-sell it to its large commercial and industrial retail customers, including Griffith University, CQUniversity and QUT.

CS Energy and Queensland’s two other publicly-owned generators, CleanCo and Stanwell, have now supported or own 1900 MW of renewable energy generation.

CS Energy CEO Andrew Bills said CS Energy was responding to the needs of large energy users like the universities by developing tailored solutions that met their needs in terms of energy usage, decarbonisation and energy management.

“Through this PPA CS Energy continues to diversify our portfolio and offer our retail customers renewable generation as part of their energy supply,” Mr Bills said.

“We’re excited to facilitate further renewable energy development in Queensland and help move the state closer to achieving its goal of 50 per cent renewables by 2030.”

The Columboola Solar Farm will feature solar technology such as bifacial panels that absorb light from both the front and the back, and single axis trackers that follow the sun.

Contractor Stirling and Wilson will start construction this month and it is due to be completed by the end of next year.