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Global renewable energy producer Neoen has signed a power purchase agreement with CleanCo Queensland for 110MW of wind energy, enabling the build of the 157MW Kaban wind farm in Far North Queensland. 

This is the second agreement contracted between the two companies in 2020, after the signature of a 352MW power purchase agreement for Western Downs Green Power Hub, Australia’s largest solar farm.

The wind farm near the town of Ravenshoe, 80km south west of Cairns, generates an electricity profile that is different and highly complementary to southern regions of the National Electricity Market (NEM).

This is CleanCo Queensland’s third renewable energy offtake agreement since its establishment in December 2018, and it will contribute to the energy needed for CleanCo Queensland to meet its target of 1GW of new renewable generation by 2025.

Louis de Sambucy, Neoen Australia’s Managing Director, said, “We are delighted to be working with CleanCo and Powerlink on our second Queensland project together. 

“This agreement underscores our deepening involvement in the state’s clean energy transition, and we are proud to be supporting Queensland’s progress towards its ambitious target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030. 

“We look forward to Kaban delivering an economic boost to Far North Queensland, supporting the region’s recovery from COVID-19.”

As Queensland’s publicly owned clean energy company, CleanCo Queensland is focused on activities that help to improve electricity affordability, contribute to achieving Queensland’s 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030 and create new investment and jobs in regional Queensland. 

Kaban Green Power Hub will be a major contributor to those objectives. 

It will generate energy to power 95,900 Queensland homes, more than enough to power every home in Cairns. Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility is in its due diligence phase to support the $370 million investment by Neoen, which is expected to create more than 150 jobs in the region of Far North Queensland when construction begins in 2021. 

The wind farm will consist of 28 turbines connected via a new substation into the existing 275kV overhead transmission line, with energy generation scheduled to commence in 2023.

Queensland Energy Minister, Dr Anthony Lynham, said, “Queensland has an economic plan for post-COVID recovery and affordable, reliable energy supply underpins that plan.

“That plan includes supporting emerging industries like renewable energy because that supports jobs.

“This project is proceeding because the power purchase agreement with CleanCo has given Neoen certainty.”

Emergency Services Minister and Member for Barron River, Craig Crawford, welcomed the news about jobs and farm income.

“This 157 MW wind farm will mean 150 construction jobs as well as revenue for local farmers hosting the turbines.

“I understand that Neoen has also been working hard with our local business community to ensure maximum opportunity for locals when early works start later this year.

“This is another great example of our publicly-owned energy businesses working for Queenslanders.”

In line with its development to its own business model, Neoen will be the long-term owner and operator of the project and is committed to sharing benefits with the surrounding community. 

The establishment of a Community Benefit Fund will provide opportunities for local community-building initiatives totaling $50,000 each year for the lifetime of the project. 

Neoen said it is proud to be working closely with the Jirrbal people, Traditional Owners of the land on which the project is located, and is committed to delivering a range of targeted business, employment and community development outcomes.

Maia Schweizer, CleanCo Queensland’s CEO, said, “We are proud to be involved in this new renewables development which will continue to improve electricity affordability for Queensland.

“Large energy users in Queensland are increasingly looking to power their businesses with affordable renewable energy, which gives us the confidence to continue to invest in projects like Kaban. 

“CleanCo is pleased to continue supporting investment and jobs in Far North Queensland as we move closer to our target of supporting 1GW of new renewable generation by 2025 and maintain progress towards the target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.”

Paul Simshauser, Powerlink Queensland Chief Executive, said, “Powerlink is proud to play a key role in connecting Kaban Green Power Hub to the electricity grid. 

“We look forward to continuing our strong partnership with Neoen to deliver our connection works for their second renewable energy venture in Queensland. 

“We are also excited to provide system strength support for this project, which will help further unlock the potential of the valuable North Queensland renewable energy resource.”

Chris Wade, NAIF’s Chief Executive Officer, said, “NAIF is excited about the potential benefits that the Kaban Green Power Hub can bring to Far North Queensland. 

“We are pleased to progress the project to our due diligence phase. Our mission is to support projects and businesses in northern Australia to facilitate economic growth and help catalyse private sector investment. 

“As such NAIF looks forward to continuing to work with our stakeholders, including the Queensland Government, to assist in the future development and growth of the state’s renewable energy sector.”

Xavier Barbaro, Neoen’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, “We would like to thank CleanCo Queensland for putting its trust in us once more. 

“The signing of this second power purchase agreement demonstrates Neoen’s ability to design competitive projects capacity and act as a long-term partner. 

“As one of the world’s leading and fastest-growing independent renewable energy producers, we are committed to delivering affordable, reliable and clean energy to communities across Australia and in our 13 other countries.”

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