Darling Downs Solar Farm officially opens

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The Darling Downs Solar Farm in Queensland has officially opened and is now generating and delivering renewable energy into the power system via Powerlink’s transmission network.

The 110MW solar farm is located 45km from Dalby and is expected to generate enough renewable energy to power up to 36,000 homes.

Powerlink Interim Chief Executive, Kev Kehl, said Powerlink’s works involved constructing 480 metres of new transmission line to connect the solar farm to the existing Braemar to Darling Downs transmission line.

“This is one of 13 committed renewable connection projects delivered by Powerlink, representing more than 1600MW of renewable generation,” Mr Kehl said.

Speaking at the opening of the Darling Down’s Solar Farm, Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the $200 million facility was the latest clean energy generator to enter the National Electricity Market.

“We’ve got more than $5 billion worth of renewable energy projects either generating, underway or financially committed across Queensland with one third of this investment in the Darling Downs alone,” Dr Lynham said.

“This latest solar farm owned by APA Group is one of five clean energy generators to come online in the Darling Downs region in just three years and is one of Queensland’s 30 clean energy generators.”

The opening of the new solar farm comes as three more large-scale solar farms are under construction in the Darling Downs and are currently providing more than 300 jobs for local communities.

Dr Lynham said the Darling Downs was demonstrating to the world how gas and the growing renewables sector could co-exist to help transition to a low emissions future.

“The Darling Downs Solar Farm is APA’s first renewable project in Queensland and is a stone’s throw away Origin Energy’s Darling Downs gas power station,” Dr Lynham said.

“In fact, the benefits of co-location means clean energy generators like Darling Downs Solar Farm reduce their project footprint meaning less impacts on the local community whilst tapping into existing transmission infrastructure.”

The 402 hectare Darling Downs Solar farm features more than 423,000 solar panels, has a capacity of 110MW and is APA Group’s sixth clean energy project in Australia.

APA Group CEO and Managing Director, Rob Wheals, said the new Darling Downs Solar Farm is a world class renewables facility that demonstrates APA’s commitment to sustainable and responsible energy.

“It showcases what can be achieved when industry, government and communities come together with a common goal.

“We’re continuing to grow our capabilities in renewable energy infrastructure as part of our growth strategy. Darling Downs Solar Farm is part of our growing renewables infrastructure portfolio, which will, together with our gas infrastructure, contribute to Australia’s transition to a lower carbon economy.”

Dr Lynham said the Darling Downs Solar Farm was yet another milestone in Queensland’s trajectory to renewable energy and renewable jobs.

“We’ve given the people of Queensland a commitment to reaching a 50 per cent by 2030 renewable energy target and with Darling Downs Solar Farm’s contribution we are well on our way,” Dr Lynham said.

“Queensland’s continued uptake of renewable energy projects is the direct result of good policy bringing the right investment climate.”

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