Queensland got a step closer to hosting a 250 MW solar project near Gladstone with the approval of the development application submitted by Spanish renewable energy developer Acciona Energy.
The Aldoga Solar Farm was waved through by the independent Coordinator-General under some added conditions. According to the state government, the “strict conditions” were imposed on the project to ensure any adverse impacts, such as construction traffic, visual impacts and stormwater flow, are managed appropriately.
The $400 million PV project will be located in the city’s State Development Area, an area of land dedicated for industrial development and materials transportation infrastructure north-west of Gladstone. It will spread across 762 hectares and feature around one million solar panels. Its output will be fed into the national electricity grid via the Powerlink 275kV Larcom Creek Terminal Station.
Once up and running, the plant is expected to generate enough electricity for around 122,000 homes per year. The Aldoga Solar Farm is expected to create up to 240 construction jobs and 10 ongoing jobs once operational, as well as provide direct investment into the local community.
“A community benefit fund will also be established by Acciona Energy to invest $50,000 to $120,000 from the project back into the community each year,” Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said. “Over the lifetime of the project, this will see a total of $1.5 million to $3.6 million put back into Gladstone and surrounding areas.”
Acciona Energy signed a 30-year agreement in April last year with the Queensland government to lease land for the Aldoga project. The deal formed part of the Queensland government’s ‘Advancing our cities and regions strategy’, which aims to renew and repurpose underutilised state land to generate jobs and drive economic growth.
Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Anthony Lynham said the project will contribute to the Palaszczuk government’s renewable energy target of 50% by 2030.
“This solar farm will help us to reduce emissions and tackle a changing climate,” Lynham said. “The proponent will also adopt Buy Queensland and Gladstone Buy Local procurement policies, giving preference to local sub-contractors and manufacturers.”
Construction is expected to commence in early-mid 2020, and will take 12-18 months.
The Aldoga project will be Acciona’s second solar farm, following the 20 MW Royalla Solar Farm in the Australian Capital Territory it connected in 2014 as a contractor for Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV).
The Spanish developer has also proposed a $55 million project with a generating capacity of up to 40 MW on the outskirts of Kerang in the Gannawarra Shire of Northern Victoria.
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