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Mega $1 billion Darling Downs solar farm approved

  1. kellbys

    5,232 Posts.
    318
    Looks good, lets hope the Abbott Govt doesn't sink it!

    "Mega $1 billion Darling Downs solar farm approved."

    Approval has been granted for Australia's biggest solar farm with developers hoping to begin construction in 2016 for the estimated $1 billion project.
    The solar panel farm would be built west of Toowoomba at a 200-hectare site at Bulli Creek, which sits between Millmerran and Goondiwindi.
    The Toowoomba Regional Council granted rezoning of the land under a number of conditions, including that construction of the first stage of the project begins within four years. The solar farm will also have a 35-year operating limit from when it begins operations.
    Developer Solar Choice says by the time the entire farm is complete in eight to 10 years it will be able to generate 2 gigawatts of electricity, which is enough to power 550,000 homes.
    Solar Choice managing director Angus Gemmell said the company would begin discussions with Powerlink to determine how the farm will connect to the power grid.
    "This is very much a staged development and we've got a long way to go," he said.
    "We've got a first phase connection of 550 megawatts with Powerlink. The feedback we're getting is that is easily within the capacity of the substation at Bulli Creek."
    Mr Gemmell said investors in North America and Europe were backing the project but was unable to provide further details due to a confidentiality agreement.
    "We have a suite of international investors who have access to the hundreds of millions, or in this case billions of dollars, that will be required to build the project," he said.
    Mr Gemmell said warehouses would also be built to store batteries, enabling power supply to homes at night.
    Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio said the project received no formal objections from residents or councillors and was approved by the council's planning department.
    "There's certainly an enthusiasm that we're going to have the biggest solar project in Australia," he said.
    "Traditionally construction periods require a bit of labour along with the operation phase."
    Cr Antonio said he hoped technological advances would mean the solar farm could continue when the 35-year limit expired.
    Meanwhile, another Queensland solar project in the works is a 15 megawatt farm built by the Sunshine Coast Regional Council.
    Given the size of the Bulli Creek project, Mr Gemmell said Solar Choice was keeping a close eye on speculation the federal government would scale back Australia's renewable energy target.
    The target is for 20 per cent of the country's electricity comes from renewable sources by 2020, but is being reviewed by the federal government.
    Mr Gemmell said he didn't anticipate any extra challenges if a Labor government was elected in Queensland.
    "It remains to be seen, whoever gains power in Queensland, what their attitudes towards renewable energy will be," he said.
    "For me, the policies announced prior to the election by Labor was more in tune to what renewables can do to keep the wholesale cost of power down for Queenslanders to allow business to be more competitive."

    http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/que...owns-solar-farm-approved-20150211-13c39r.html

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