Australia’s largest solar farm begins exporting to grid


From pv magazine Australia

Neoen Australia said this week that its 400 MW solar farm, which forms part of its AUD 600 million ($414.6 million) Western Downs Green Power Hub, is nearing completion. Testing works are now underway in collaboration with Queensland transmission network operator Powerlink and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

While final testing and commissioning activities are continuing, Queensland Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said in a statement that the project – which is being developed on a 1,500-hectare site near Chinchilla – has already begun generating into the national electricity market.

“A major milestone has been reached on Australia’s largest solar farm under construction with the project now able to export more than 100 MW of clean energy into the nation’s electricity grid,” the statement reads.

Upon completion, the Western Downs Green Power Hub will also include a 200 MW/400 MWh big battery. It is expected to produce more than 1,080 GWh of clean energy per year, or enough electricity to power more than 230,000 Queensland homes.

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“This solar farm, the largest of its kind in Australia, will be able to generate power for a region the size of Logan and Redlands combined,” de Brenni said. “And is a major step toward achieving the government’s 50% renewable energy by 2030 target.”

Neoen Australia Managing Director Louis de Sambucy said the team is now working to finish the project as quickly as possible, and to ramp up the capacity in coordination with Powerlink and AEMO. When fully operational, the Western Downs Green Power Hub will add 400 MW of renewable energy into the grid.

CleanCo, a Queensland government-owned energy generator and retailer, is signed up to take 320 MW. CleanCo Chair Jacqui Walters said the power purchase agreement will be used to support commercial and industrial customers to push ahead with their net-zero goals and build their global competitiveness with competitively priced energy.

“CleanCo has committed to bringing 1,400 MW of new renewable energy into the market by 2025 and projects like the Western Downs Green Power Hub are underpinning that, so it’s very exciting to see the project coming to completion,” she said.

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