• Aldoga Solar Farm with 250 MW capacity by Acciona Energy has received green light from the state government of Queensland in Australia
  • It will be located near Gladstone on 762-hectare land leased by Acciona from the state government for 30 years
  • Local sub-contractors and manufacturers will be signed up by Acciona for the project that’s expected to create 240 construction jobs and 10 permanent jobs in the state
  • In another news from the state, RenewEconomy has reported 2 solar power projects with 165 MW combined capacity have been connected to the grid

Queensland Government in Australia has approved development of 250 MW (AC) Aldoga Solar Farm being planned near Gladstone by Spanish renewable energy player Acciona. The state’s Independent Coordinator-General approved the development application for the farm in the city’s State Development Area (SDA).

Acciona will develop the project on 762-hectare leased land from state government for which it signed a 30-year agreement in April 2018. Power generated will be fed into the national electricity grid through a connection into the Powerlink Larcom Creek Station.

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning, Cameron Dick said this project will create up to 240 construction jobs and 10 permanent jobs once it is operational. “Over the lifetime of the project, this will see a total of AUD 1.5 million to AUD 3.6 million ($1 million to $2.5 million) put back into Gladstone and surrounding areas,” added Dick.

Under the state government’s Advancing our cities and regions strategy to renew and repurpose underutilized land to generate jobs and drive economic growth, Acciona won the expression of interest launched by the government to secure rights to design, build and operate the AUD 400 million ($277 million) solar farm.

The Spanish company will contract local sub-contractors and manufacturers for the plant as per the deal. It will support the state government’s target of achieving 50% renewable energy in the energy mix by 2030.

Gladstone is home to 1.68 GW coal-fired Gladstone Power Station that has been operational since 1976. Government here is headed by the Labour party whose climate change policies at the federal level found limited support from the voters as conservative coalition came back to power (see Australian Coalition Stays In Power).

Safety code invalid

The Labour led state government has invited wrath of the solar industry as it put in place a new safety code for solar projects in the state making it mandatory to have under construction commercial projects to have only licensed electricians do zero electrical work of mounting and removing solar panels (see Queensland Safety Code Has Solar Industry Worried).

Maryborough Solar, owner of the 35 MW Brigalow Solar Farm, dragged the government to the state’s Supreme Court challenging its decision complaining that implementing the code would add AUD 2.6 million ($1.8 million) to its costs. The Clean Energy Council (CEC) says the court has rendered the state government regulation invalid. CEC Director-Energy Generation, Anna Freeman said the ruling was ‘a victory for common sense’.

Meanwhile, Adani Renewables’ 65 MW Rugby Run Solar Project and 100 MW first stage of Pacific Hydro’s Haughton Solar Farm in Queensland have been connected to the grid, reported RenewEconomy. While Rugby Run may be expanded later to 170 MW, Haughton Solar Farm’s capacity may be increased to 500 MW.