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Transformation underway at North Queensland solar farms

Two 70-tonne transformers are being installed at the Strathmore Substation near Collinsville as two new North Queensland solar farms prepare to join the electricity transmission network.

Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the transformers were the most significant pieces of equipment needed to complete the connection of the Whitsunday and Hamilton projects to the transmission network. The projects are being developed by Australian renewable energy company Edify Energy and its German investor WIRSOL.

“These solar farms will generate 115 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy, enough to power the equivalent of 62,000 average Queensland homes after they join the grid in March,” Dr Lynham said.

“They are among the first of 23 large-scale renewable generation projects in the pipeline in Queensland, including 13 in North Queensland,” Dr Lynham said.

Construction started at the $122 million Whitsunday and $138 million Hamilton projects in June 2017, and they will create more than 200 construction jobs at their peak.

The Whitsunday Solar Farm is one of the four projects successful in receiving Palaszczuk Government support through the Solar 150 initiative.

The revenue certainty provided through Solar 150 has helped make Queensland an attractive location for renewable projects, and spurred unprecedented growth in investment in the state.

The transformers arrived at the Port of Brisbane in mid-January, were transported more than 1250 km by road, and are currently being installed.

Powerlink Chief Executive Merryn York said transporting the massive pieces of equipment had been a major logistical exercise.

“It took several days for the transformers to be transported on two long-load platform trailers and when fully assembled, they will each weigh close to 110-tonnes and stand six metres tall,” she said.

Powerlink is scheduled to start commissioning connections for the solar farms next month.

WIRSOL managing director Mark Hogan said construction at the solar farms was on schedule to meet their proposed commissioning date and they would soon be producing a significant volume of clean energy for the region.

“With our project partners Edify, we are proud to be owners of these ground-breaking projects and we look forward to exporting electricity to the Powerlink network.”

Another three solar farms are underway in the Collinsville area – Daydream, Hayman and the Collinsville Solar PV project and are due to be completed later this year.

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