Oakey in the Darling Downs will be the site of the next Queensland Solar Farm, and the farm will receive a further $55 million from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).
The Corporation is adding to its initial $19.5 million commitment to the 80 MW farm.
CEFC Large-Scale Solar lead Gloria Chan said the project should deliver enough renewable energy to power around 24,000 Queensland homes.
“This is an exciting development for the next generation of Queensland solar, with the Oakey project being ‘battery ready’,” Ms Chan said.
“A key feature of the CEFC’s role in the market is to encourage critical technologies that assist in Australia’s smooth transition to a cleaner, more reliable electricity grid.”
Equity sponsor Foresight Solar Fund Limited will collaborate with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to install new technology. The five-minute forecasting technology will enhance grid stability as Australia transitions to more renewable energy sources.
Solar farms show grid can absorb more renewables
The CEFC recently committed $150 million in debt finance to stage one of the Lincoln Gap wind farm, in South Australia’s Port Augusta region.
Ms Chan said Oakey and Lincoln Gap demonstrate how the grid can accommodate an increased proportion of renewable energy.
The CEFC has committed approximately $495 million in finance towards large-scale solar projects in Queensland. These include the Kidston Renewable Energy Hub, and the Kennedy Energy Park, which integrates wind, solar and battery technologies.
Solar’s an increasingly cost-effective energy solution in areas like Oakey, Ms Chan said. “It makes sense to increase solar energy generation in these areas alongside investing in complementary technologies that enhance the stability of a renewables-powered grid.”
Local communities benefit from every Queensland solar farm
The Oakey development provides local land owners with the opportunity to improve the resilience of their farming operations. That’s because long-term land leasing to solar energy generators supplements their income.
In addition, the farm will create 120 construction jobs. It’s due to commence construction in the first quarter of 2018 and grid connected by the end of the year.
The AEMO aims to find new ways of securing electricity supply through renewables and smart technology. Late last year, AEMO Chief Executive Audrey Zibelman said her organisation had already found 2,000 MW of additional sources to secure the grid this summer.