UK developer seeks go-ahead for upsized Queensland solar and storage project

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The Eurimbula Solar Farm project, being developed by Elements Green near the industrial city of Gladstone in central Queensland, has joined the queue of projects seeking the tick of approval from the federal government’s Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.

The project, which has been referred for assessment under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, would comprise a 696 MW solar array backed by a 666 MW battery with two hours of storage.

Being developed across a 1,280-hectare site near the town of Bororen, about 50 kilometres south of Gladstone, the project is to also feature a 33 / 275 kV substation and would link to Queensland’s transmission network between Bororen and Rodds Bay.

The Eurimbula Solar Farm is an update on the previously proposed 300 MW Rodds Bay Solar Farm that has remained dormant since 2020 when United Green acquired a majority stake in the ‘shovel ready’ project from original developer Renew Estate.

The Rodds Bay project was granted planning approval from the Gladstone Regional Council, including approval to develop an 82 MW / 164 MWh battery, in 2018. The project also passed the required tests relating to system strength and generator performance standards and signed a connection agreement with Queensland government-owned network operator Powerlink in 2020. A notice to proceed was issued in early 2020 but construction never commenced.

Eurimbula ProjectCo, a special purpose vehicle set up specifically to develop the new project, wrote in its application for EPBC approval that the upsized solar and storage facility would support the state’s clean energy transition and ambitions.

“The Queensland government’s renewable energy targets of 70% by 2032 and net zero by 2050 are key drivers of the push towards renewable energy generation and the proposed action will assist in the facilitation of this,” it said.

The project is being developed alongside the Eurimbula National Park.

>Image: Eurimbula ProjectCo

The company said the Eurimbula project site is within the Central Queensland Renewable Energy Zone (REZ). More correctly, it is located within the proposed Calliope REZ, one of four renewable energy zones planned for central Queensland.

The Calliope REZ is one of 12 identified by the state government as part of its plans to connect 22 GW of new grid-scale wind and solar generation needed to help achieve its clean energy targets.

The Eurimbula project is Elements Green’s first entry into the Australian energy market, but the company said in its application that its solar operations and development arm has approximately 3.75 GW of solar energy projects in the development pipeline in Australia.

Elements Green said this is in addition to a pipeline of more than 12 GW of large-scale solar and batteries in the UK, Europe and Asia.

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