The renewable energy sector will supply much-needed support to regional Queensland by creating 400 jobs as Neoen and CleanCo Queensland sign a landmark 352 MWp power purchase agreement. This is one of Australia’s most substantial renewable energy agreements to date.
The Palaszczuk Government has announced this major boost for regional renewable energy jobs with work to start in July 2020 on Australia’s biggest solar farm on the Western Downs, near Chinchilla.
The government-owned CleanCo will help underwrite the Neoen solar farm by buying 320 megawatts of its output. The project will generate enough energy to power about 235,000 Queensland homes.
“The best thing we can do to support Queensland jobs is to support investment in our state,” the Premier said.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said, “As our economy emerges from the worst impacts of COVID-19, we need projects ready to go that will create jobs and stimulate spending, especially in regional Queensland…….Construction will commence in July, creating much-needed jobs, and generation is scheduled for the first quarter of 2022.”
Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the PPA between Neoen and CleanCo would support regional jobs and grow the local economy.
“Neoen will maximise the use of suppliers and the local workforce in Chinchilla and the south-west to ensure the benefits of this development are shared in the region,” he said.
“It will also establish an annual $100,000 Community Benefit Fund that provides opportunities for local community-building initiatives for the duration of the project’s life.
Louis de Sambucy, Neoen Australia’s Managing Director said: “We are excited to work in partnership with CleanCo with whom we share the same long-term vision. The electricity produced by Western Downs solar farm will complement CleanCo’s hydro energy production and it will be our first project in Queensland. We are fully committed to delivering this landmark deal by making the most of the region’s excellent solar resources, the use of the latest technology and our experience in delivering solar farms on time and on budget. We look forward to Western Downs becoming a lighthouse project in achieving excellent regional economic and local community outcomes that will be needed in the aftermath of Covid-19’s impact on the economy. This will also help the Queensland government work towards its ambitious target of 50% renewable energy by 2030.”
To read the full joint statement released by:
Premier and Minister for Trade
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk
Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
The Honourable Jackie Trad
Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy
The Honourable Dr Anthony Lynham