Darling Downs Solar Farm Progress

Darling Downs Solar Farm

Image: RCR Tomlinson (EPC contractor for Darlings Downs Solar Farm)

Work has commenced on the transmission line that will connect APA’s Darling Downs Solar Farm in Queensland to the state’s electricity network.

Darling Downs Solar Farm is a 110-megawatt project situated approximately 40 kilometres from the town of Dalby and 250 kilometres from Brisbane.

The clean power station will feature approximately 400,000/430,000 solar panels (the number depends on who’s telling the story) installed over 250 hectares that will generate enough energy to supply the electricity needs of the equivalent of up to 32,000 homes.

Powerlink Chief Executive Merryn York said the company had started construction on the new 350- metre transmission line, to be hung on three new transmission poles. 

“This essential work will enable the renewable energy generated at the solar farm to be delivered safely and efficiently to the National Electricity Market,” said Ms. York.

Powerlink is aiming to complete the work in March, with the line energised in the second quarter of this year.

2018 will prove to be a busy year for big solar in Queensland. As we mentioned yesterday, among the large-scale PV projects to start construction in 2018 are the Childers and Susan River solar farms.

Queensland Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham says the state has a $3.6 billion pipeline of committed renewable energy projects, which will collectively create close to 3000 jobs in regional Queensland.

“We are right on track to deliver on our 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030, with the right mix of coal, gas and renewable generation to maintain reliability and put downward pressure on electricity prices,” he said.

Other APA Projects And Assets

Darling Downs Solar Farm is part of APA’s growing renewables portfolio.

Another APA project closing in on prime time is the 20MW Emu Downs Solar Farm in Western Australia, located approximately 200km north of Perth and 30km east of Cervantes. A December update from APA said site testing and commissioning activities were under way.

The PV-based generator is sharing electricity transmission infrastructure with APA’s Emu Downs Wind Farm, a 79.2 MW facility that has been operational since 2006 and was acquired by APA in 2011. The project will be the first operational co-located wind and solar farm in Western Australia.

Additionally, APA has approvals for up to 130 megawatts of installed wind generation capacity at its Badgingarra site, which is across the road from Emu Downs.

APA’s portfolio also includes a stake in the 132 MW North Brown Hill Wind Farm in South Australia, 15,000 kilometres of natural gas pipelines across the country and the Diamantina Power Station; a 302MW gas-fired generator in Mount Isa, Queensland.

Looking ahead, APA says it will evaluate further wind and solar generation opportunities, including the potential Beelbee Solar Farm development site adjacent to Darling Downs Solar Farm. The Beelbee facility, approved by Western Downs Regional Council in September last year, will be between 150MW and 240MW, and has the potential for battery storage of up to 100MW.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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