• In Australia, Shell has announced starting construction on a 120 MW solar power plant
  • Project will be coming up near Wandoan in Queensland with 400,000 solar panels
  • Power generated will be supplied to its QGC natural gas processing plants on completion

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has started construction on its first commercial-scale solar farm in Australia which will have up to 120 MW of solar power capacity and is coming up near Wandoan in Queensland. It also happens to be the company’s largest solar installation anywhere in the world.

Tony Nunan, Australia Country Chair for Shell, announced on his LinkedIn account details of the project that’s called Gangarri which in local Iman Aboriginal language means sunlight. It will be equipped with 400,000 solar panels and generate enough clean energy to supply power to 50,000 homes. However, solar power generated by the Gangarri Solar Farm will instead go to Shell’s QGC natural gas processing plant ‘showing how gas as a transition fuel and clean energy assets can coexist’, said the Queensland government.

Nunan explained the company’s stand on using solar power and natural gas together: “To support renewable energy sources such as Gangarri, natural gas is quick to fire up generators and is the cleanest burning hydrocarbon. To be fit for this future, Shell is reshaping its business today. Our solar farm is the latest in a sequence of planned investments we are making in Australia to help our customers thrive through this energy transition.”

Reuters reported the project to achieve completion in early 2021.

The 120 MW Shell PV project on completion will be grid -onnected to the National Electricity Market (NEM) and will be located close to AGL and Vena Energy’s planned 100 MW lithium-ion battery near Wandoan on the Western Downs whose construction is due to begin in July 2020. It will have the capacity to store 150 MWh of energy.

In Australia, as elsewhere, Shell is increasingly scaling up its presence in the renewables industry. It bought a stake of up to 49%  in ESCO Pacific in December 2019 and also acquired ERM Power Limited. It also bought solar storage battery maker sonnen that operates in Australia.