September 22, 2017 Read More →

Renewables in Australian Coal Country

Simon Nicholas (IEEFA) for Corporate Knights:

Defying the policy uncertainty that has held back utility-scale solar across most of the rest of Australia, renewables investment is gathering pace across Queensland, a region traditionally known as coal country.

Collinsville, a North Queensland town with strong ties to coal, is already host to two solar projects: Edify Energy’s 70-megawatt Whitsunday Solar Farm and Ratch Australia’s 43-megawatt Collinsville Solar Project. The latter is being built on the site of an abandoned coal-fired power station.

When Glencore, the multinational mining conglomerate, recently received licenses for its Wandoan Coal Project in Queensland’s Surat Basin, it announced the news with a note of circumspection:

“Adding significant new tonnes to the market at this time could adversely impact the profitability of existing thermal coal production, potentially putting jobs at risk as the market adjusts downwards as a result of oversupply.”

It’s more likely, in fact, that solar power that will be providing more jobs in the Wandoan area, where Royal Dutch Shell is continuing its transition toward renewable energy with regional government approval for its 250-megawatt Delga Solar Farm just up the road from Glencore’s tentative new coal stake.

In addition, Equis Energy, the largest independent power producer in Asia, has received the greenlight for its Wandoan South Solar Project, a complex designed for a full gigawatt (1,000 megawatts) of capacity. The project will be Australia’s largest solar array, and it embodies the pace at which the Australian utility-scale solar industry is developing (the current largest solar farm in Australia is the 102-megawatt Nyngan Plant in New South Wales).

Renewables in Australian coal country

Posted in: IEEFA In the News

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