UGL secures solar projects as part of $296 million works package


UGL, part of the Sydney-headquartered Cimic Group, has been awarded the design and works contract for the 88 MW Mica Creek Solar Farm project being developed near Mount Isa in regional Queensland after Australian natural gas and electricity company APA Group’s recent decision to push ahead with stage two of the renewable energy project.

UGL has been appointed to perform design and construction works at the $150 million project which comprises the solar farm, substation and transmission line.

The company’s engagement at the Mica Creek Solar Farm will coincide with works stage two of the Tailem Bend Solar Farm in South Australia after UGL secured the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the project.

Singapore-based developer Vena Energy awarded UGL the EPC contract for the 87 MW second stage of the Tailem Bend Solar Farm and associated substation upgrade works.

The $200 million project, to be constructed adjacent to the operational 95 MW Tailem Bend Solar Farm about 100km north of Adelaide, also includes provisions for a 40 MW Battery Energy Storage System (BESS).

The 95 MW first stage of the Tailem Bend Solar Farm was switched on in 2019.

Image: Vena Energy

UGL managing director Doug Moss said the company, which recently completed work on the Victorian Big Battery project in Victoria and the Wallgrove Grid Battery project in New South Wales (NSW), is a market leader in Australian renewables projects, and in the design and construction of high-voltage transmission lines.

“The Mica Creek project will be UGL’s third solar project for APA Group and the Tailem Bend 2 project is a continuation of the work we performed with Vena Energy on the adjacent site,” he said.

The Tailem Bend and Mica Creek works contracts are among a package of recently awarded design and EPC contracts in the renewables and utilities sectors that will deliver UGL a combined revenue of more than $296 million.

The firm has also been awarded the design and construction contract for two 330 kV switching stations and the construction of approximately 65km of double circuit transmission line for the MacIntyre Wind Farm Precinct connection project for Powerlink in southwest Queensland.

Work on the $150 million Mica Creek Solar Farm is set to commence this year after Australian energy infrastructure company APA Group recently confirmed it had secured a 15-year offtake agreement to supply energy from the second stage of the 88 MW project to Mount Isa Mines (MIM).

APA, which operates a $22 billion portfolio of gas and electricity assets across the country, announced late last month it had reached a Final Investment Decision (FID) to build stage two of the Mica Creek Solar Farm.

The Mica Creek Solar Farm will be built adjacent to APA’s Diamantina Power Station.

Image: Wicked Copters

That announcement came just one month after APA gave the go-ahead to build the first 44 MW stage of the solar farm after entering a 15-year offtake agreement with zinc miner MMG Dugald River (MMG).

APA CEO and managing director Rob Wheals said the company is already investigating a potential expansion for a third stage of the solar farm, which will be located near the existing gas-fired Diamantina Power Station Complex.

“We now have two major APA customers supporting both stages of the 88 MW Mica Creek Solar Farm with agreements to supply renewable electricity to their Mount Isa operations, demonstrating the enthusiasm of customers in the region for integrated energy solutions that can both meet their energy needs and help reduce their operational emissions,” he said.

“With supply of renewable energy for the two initial stages now under contract, APA is investigating a potential expansion for a third stage, following strong interest from customers.”

The APA contract with UGL is expected to be completed in 2023, with both stages of the Mica Creek Solar Farm expected to be operational by mid-2023.

The contract for the Tailem Bend Solar farm is also expected to be completed in 2023.

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