Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick, Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher and Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, and Acciona managing director Brett Wickham pictured when the project was announced last year.
Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick, Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher and Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, and Acciona managing director Brett Wickham pictured when the project was announced last year.

$500m Gladstone solar farm progressing

CONSTRUCTION won't start this year but a proposed solar farm at Aldoga is progressing.

A development application has now been lodged with the Gladstone Regional Council and is awaiting approval.

Spanish energy giant Acciona lodged the application with the council last month for a material change of use for the construction of overhead transmission lines as part of its $500-million project.

Announced in April 2018, the 22.2 ha solar farm is expected to create 265MW of power for 30 years.

It was initially estimated construction would start in the second half of 2019, however, this has been pushed back to the third or fourth quarter of 2020, pending approvals.

The project received Gladstone State Development Area approval in May.

The application was filed on behalf of Acciona by AECOM Australia.

It said the project needed a 275kV overhead power transmission line to connect the solar farm to the Larcom Creek substation.

This is expected to consist of 18 concrete poles, be about 30m high and require 3.7km of transmission line.

The application said construction would begin after further site investigation works, project delivery planning, detailed design and development of construction plans.

"The projected timing is subject to the outcome of the planning process, granting of the project approval, grid connections and negotiation of power purchase agreements," it said.

"The construction of the solar farm project is proposed to take place over a 12-18 month period.

"The construction of the OHTL will take 6-8 months within the same construction period associated with the solar farm."

The application said vegetation clearing would be limited to the minimum extent possible for the construction of the transmission lines.

It estimated about 11 ha of vegetation was expected to be cleared.

The application said the Aldoga Solar Farm would stimulate the economy during construction and once operational.

It said the project had received "positive feedback" during public community information sessions held last year at Yarwun, Mount Larcom and Gladstone.

"The general feedback towards the project was overwhelmingly positive," it said.

"Stakeholder and community consultation will continue to be a critical aspect of the project during development, construction, operation and decommissioning."

Acciona has signed a 30-year lease with the Queensland Government to build the renewable energy facility in the Gladstone State Development Area.

It is expected to create up to 240 construction jobs and 10 ongoing jobs once operational.