APA to build 88 MW solar farm in central Queensland


Australian gas giant APA Group, which operates a $22 billion portfolio of gas and electricity assets across the country, has reached a final investment decision to build the 44 MW stage one of the Mica Creek Solar Farm with an investment of more than $80 million. 

The project is underpinned by a 15 year solar offtake agreement with existing APA customer, zinc miner MMG Dugald River (MMG).

The first stage of the solar farm is expected to be operational by early 2023, with APA saying it is in “advanced discussions” with a number of customers to commit to the development of stage two, which would double the project’s capacity to 88 MW.

APA said it had also entered into a 32-year lease agreement with the Queensland government to locate the solar farm on a site near APA’s Diamantina Power Station Complex. The power station will continue to provide what the company described as “firming gas” to MMG, under APA’s existing contract with the zinc miner.

APA, which operates Australia’s largest gas pipeline, recently tried to acquire AusNet, which owns and operates Victoria’s electricity transmission network, as well as an electricity distribution network and gas distribution network in the state. The company seems to have all but officially lost its bidding war for AusNet to Canadian asset management group Brookfield. Brookfield yesterday upped its all-cash offer from $2.50 a share to $2.65 and having already won the support of AusNet’s major shareholder, Singapore Power, its takeover is looking like a done deal.

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