The Darling Downs and South West is quickly becoming a renewable energy powerhouse creating hundreds of jobs in the process.
Speaking at the opening of the Darling Down’s Solar Farm, Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the $200 million facility was the latest clean energy generator to enter the National Electricity Market, providing enough energy to power up to 36,000 homes.
“We’ve got more than $5 billion worth of renewable energy projects either generating, underway or financially committed across Queensland with one third of this investment in the Darling Downs alone,” he said.
“This latest solar farm owned by APA Group is one of five clean energy generators to come online in the Darling Downs region in just three years and is one of Queensland’s 30 clean energy generators,” Dr Lynham said.
Dr Lynham joined APA Group executives to inspect the facility, situated 45 kilometres west of Dalby.
It comes as three more large-scale solar farms are under construction in the Darling Downs and are currently providing more than 300 jobs for local communities.
Dr Lynham said the Darling Downs was demonstrating to the world how gas and the growing renewables sector could co-exist to help transition to a low emissions future.
“The Darling Downs Solar Farm is APA’s first renewable project in Queensland and is a stone’s throw away Origin Energy’s Darling Downs gas power station,” he said.
“In fact, the benefits of co-location means clean energy generators like Darling Downs Solar Farm reduce their project footprint meaning less impacts on the local community whilst tapping into existing transmission infrastructure.”
The 402 hectare Darling Downs Solar farm features more than 423,000 solar panels and has a capacity of 110 megawatts.
It is APA Group’s sixth clean energy project in Australia.
APA Group CEO and Managing Director Rob Wheals said the new Darling Downs Solar Farm is a world class renewables facility that demonstrates APA’s commitment to sustainable and responsible energy.
“It showcases what can be achieved when industry, government and communities come together with a common goal.
“We’re continuing to grow our capabilities in renewable energy infrastructure as part of our growth strategy. Darling Downs Solar Farm is part of our growing renewables infrastructure portfolio, which will, together with our gas infrastructure, contribute to Australia’s transition to a lower carbon economy.”
Dr Lynham said the Darling Downs Solar Farm was yet another milestone in Queensland’s trajectory to renewable energy and renewable jobs.
“We’ve given the people of Queensland a commitment to reaching a 50 per cent by 2030 renewable energy target and with Darling Downs Solar Farm’s contribution we are well on our way.
“Queensland’s continued uptake of renewable energy projects is the direct result of good policy bringing the right investment climate.”