Queensland is set for a solar jobs bonanza following the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s announcement of support for six large-scale solar generation projects in the state.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Minister for Energy Mark Bailey said the projects will provide 300 megawatts of renewable energy generation capacity as well as boost investment by $500 million and create more than 500 direct jobs and hundreds more indirect jobs in regional Queensland.
“My Government promised to establish a large-scale renewable energy industry – to act on climate change while creating new jobs and diversifying our economy – which is why the ARENA funding decision is great news for Queensland,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“I am proud that the largest solar farm in Australia will now be located on the Darling Downs, and that two of the three largest solar farms will be located in Queensland – we truly have transitioned from the Sunshine State to the Solar State.
“Combined these projects will generate enough renewable energy to power 120,000 homes.
“The competitiveness of so many Queensland projects in the ARENA process has been assisted by my government’s financial support, which I am pleased to announce has further increased to 150 MW.”
Mr Bailey who was in Sydney for the announcement said ARENA would provide upfront capital grants to support the development of six new large-scale solar projects right across Queensland, with construction set to begin early next year.
The six Queensland-based solar projects to receive ARENA support are:
- Whitsunday Solar Farm – 58 megawatt generation capacity
- Kidston Solar Project – 50 megawatt generation capacity
- Oakey Solar Farm – 25 megawatt generation capacity
- Longreach Solar Farm – 15 megawatt generation capacity
- Darling Downs Solar Farm – 107 megawatt generation capacity
- Collinsville Solar Farm – 42 megawatt generation capacity
“The Whitsunday, Kidston, Oakey and Longreach Solar Farms have also been successful in securing State Government support through long-term revenue contracts,” Mr Bailey said.
“This expanded support represents nearly 150 MW, almost four times the capacity of our election commitment to a 40 MW reverse auction.
“Our long-term financial support ideally complements ARENA’s program, by lowering the cost of large-scale solar and removing obstacles such as financing and commercial viability.”
Mr Bailey said while today’s announcement was exciting for Queensland, the future of large-scale solar projects was under threat from the Turnbull Government’s proposed changes to ARENA.
“Under the Turnbull Government’s plan, ARENA will lose $1.3 billion and all chances of further nation building, competitive grants programs like those announced today,” he said.
“The Palaszczuk Government calls on the Australian Parliament to block Malcolm Turnbull’s savage anti-renewables plan. He has pulled the rug from under Queensland’s clean energy future, just as we’re getting large-scale renewables going in Queensland under the Palaszczuk Government.”
The six projects are part of twelve set to be constructed across Australia, tripling the amount of energy produced from big solar.