Japanese companies Sojitz and Eneos have partnered in a 50-50 joint venture to develop the 204 MW Edenvale Solar Park, confirming work has already commenced at the 428-hectare site near Chinchilla, on the Western Downs.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk welcomed the announcement, saying on Thursday the investment reinforced the state’s standing as a renewable energy powerhouse.
“This is a show of international confidence in the strength of our economic recovery plan and in Queensland’s renewable energy future,” she said.
“This project will create a local jobs bonanza with over 400 jobs required during the construction phase.”
The Australian subsidiary of Gransolar Group has the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with the plant expected to be energised in Q1 2023.
Initially developed by Singapore-based DPI Solar 3, the solar facility will connect to the transmission grid via Powerlink’s existing Orana substation within the Southern Queensland Renewable Energy Zone.
The project will sell 70% of its output to a local electricity retailer while the remaining 30% will be supplied to the nearby Gregory Crinum coal mine, which Sojitz owns and operates.
Edenvale Solar Park is the first solar PV project in Australia for both Eneos, which has a significant focus on renewables and hydrogen, and Sojitz which has a long involvement with Queensland’s mining industry.
Sojitz, whose interests in Australia range from mining and agriculture to hospitals and forestry, described Australia as a “high growth market” for renewables, pointing to its vast land area and high level of solar radiation.
“Sojitz aims to not only develop the projects in Australia moving forward, but also to provide a stable supply of renewable energy to Australian companies and Japanese companies conducting business in Australia,” the company said in a statement
Eneos also has grand ambitions in Australia, looking to develop a CO2-free hydrogen supply chain here with plans to expand its renewable power generation capacity to 1,000 MW in and outside of Japan by 2022-23.
President Katsuyuki Ota said in an interview with Reuters last year Eneos is eyeing renewable energy projects in Australia as part of its transformation into a supplier of low-carbon energy and materials as the demand for oil continues to decline.
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