Queensland council calls for feedback on giga-scale solar and battery project


Australian renewables project developer Skylab Group Australia, operating under Punchs Creek Renewable Energy, is planning to build an up to 800 MW solar farm with a 250 MW / 250 MWh battery energy storage system in Queensland’s Southern Downs region.

Brisbane-based Skylab, which also acts as distributor of solar tracking systems, said the proposed Punch’s Creek Renewable Energy Project is being developed near Millmerran, about 70 kilometres southwest of Toowoomba in the heart of the Southern Queensland Renewable Energy Zone.

The project, which has been in development since 2019, is to include more than 1.7 million PV panels spread across a 1,345-hectare site, much of which is currently used for cropping and grazing purposes.

The Toowoomba Regional Council has now launched a “public notification” process, allowing the local community to provide feedback on the proposed development.

Council said the public notification campaign is required as the project is considered “impact-assessable”, meaning the proposed land use is in some way inconsistent with the generally accepted uses under the existing zoning.

Public submissions are being accepted through until 24 February 2024.

Skylab said the solar and battery project is planned to be built in two stages. The first phase of construction, slated to begin later this year, will deliver 400 MW of solar along with the battery and associated infrastructure including a substation. Stage 2 would add a further 400 MW of solar.

The Punch’s Creek Renewable Energy Project will connect to the National Electricity Market (NEM) via Powerlink’s existing 330 kV electricity transmission line that transects the project site.

In its development documents, Skylab said the project will support state and national renewable energy targets and provide essential support as coal-fired generation capacity continues to exit the system.

Skylab’s portfolio also includes the 100 MW Gunsynd Solar Farm being developed near Goondiwindi in south-west Queensland, and the proposed Springvale Renewable Project, a 400 MW / 480 MW solar farm with 100 MWh battery storage and hydrogen production capacity near Townsville in the state’s north.

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