Skylab plans giga-scale solar and battery project for Queensland


Renewables developer Skylab said the proposed Punch’s Creek Renewable Energy Project, to be built near Toowoomba in Queensland’s Southern Downs region, would comprise an 800 MW solar farm and a 250 MW/250 MWh battery energy storage system.

In a development application lodged with the Toowoomba Regional Council, Brisbane-based Skylab said the plan is for the project to be developed in two stages with the first phase of construction to install 400 MW of solar along with the big battery and associated infrastructure including a substation.

Construction of the initial phase is slated to begin in the middle of 2024 and take about 18 months. Stage 2 of the project would add a further 400 MW of solar.

Skylab said the project, being developed on a 1,345-hectare site near Millmerran about 70 kilometres southwest of Toowoomba in the heart of the South West Queensland Renewable Energy Zone, will support state and national renewable energy targets and provide essential support as coal-fired generation capacity continues to exit the system.

“With direct access to the Powerlink transmission network this site provides the ultimate balance between connection and opportunity,” the company said.

“With recent decisions to phase out coal generation plants, this project is in the optimum location to replace ~900 MW of adjacent generation.”

The project is being built near the 825 MW coal-fired Millmerran Power Station that is currently scheduled to close in 2051 and will connect to the National Electricity Market (NEM) via Powerlink’s existing 330 kV electricity transmission line.

“Being located proximate to the Millmerran Power Station, the solar and energy storage facility will be able to maximise its access to the grid and its ability to export renewable energy into the power system,” Skylab said in its application.

Skylab is also progressing plans for the 94 MW Gunsynd Solar Farm near Goondiwindi in southwest Queensland. The company said it has secured a connection agreement for the project, which will also include 20 MW of energy storage capacity, and construction is expected to commence in the second quarter of this year.

The company’s portfolio also includes the Springvale Renewable Project near Townsville in north Queensland. The proposal includes a 400 MW solar farm with 100 MWh of battery energy storage and green hydrogen production capacity.

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