Powerlink’s 130MW Clare Solar Farm near Ayr in Queensland has started supplying electricity to the grid, and the Haughton Solar Farm connection agreement has been reached.

Queensland Minister for Energy, Dr Anthony Lynham, said, “This is further progress towards reaching our 50 per cent by 2030 renewable energy target – when our five-millionth Queenslander hits high school age.”

“We have 890MW of renewables flowing into the grid already, much of it from Queenslanders who have embraced rooftop solar panels.

“Queensland’s large-scale renewable energy capacity is set to double over the next 12 months, as our $20 billion pipeline of committed and potential renewable projects starts to deliver.

“Latest figures from the Clean Energy Council show that more than half of all activity in large-scale solar in Australia is occurring in Queensland.

Powerlink and Pacific Hydro’s Haughton Solar Farm has also finalised a connection agreement for the first stage of the potential 1200 hectare solar farm, located about 60km south of Townsville.

Pacific Hydro has obtained planning approval from the Burdekin Shire Council for up to 500MW of solar generation – the equivalent of powering 170,000 average Australian homes.

The Haughton project is Pacific Hydro’s first in the Queensland energy market and stage one will involve connecting 100MW to Powerlink’s existing transmission network.

“The Haughton Solar Farm will create around 250 construction jobs and implement a number of initiatives to encourage local suppliers and businesses to provide services to the project,” Dr Lynham said.

“Up to 10 permanent operational jobs will also be created and Powerlink’s grid connection works will support another 43 jobs.”

A total of more than $4.2 billion worth of projects are currently either under construction or financially committed, offering a combined employment injection of more than 3500 construction jobs across regional Queensland and more than 2000MW of power.

Powerlink Chief Executive, Merryn York, said Powerlink was responding to an unprecedented level of customer connection enquiries and applications.

“Powerlink expects to connect another eleven committed large-scale renewable projects over the next 12 months across the state, representing about 1600MW of renewable generation,” Ms York said.

“We also have more than 150 enquiries or applications to connect totalling nearly 30,000MW and almost all of them are from renewable sources.”

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