Darling Downs solar farm gets approval tick
A MAJOR milestone has been reached in plans for a massive solar electricity farm on the Darling Downs.
Builder Solar Choice has received Toowoomba Regional Council approval to construct the farm at Bulli Creek, between Millmerran and Goondiwindi.
Managing director Angus Gemmell said the farm could potentially generate up to two gigawatts, or two billion watts, once it was completed.
However, there was still a lot of work to be done before construction could begin.
Mr Gemmell said his company was working with high voltage line maintainers Powerlink to determine the capacity for power fed into the electricity grid.
"We are taking care to ensure all steps of the project are built in manageable stages," Mr Gemmell said.
He said the first stage to be built could produce between 50 megawatts and 200 megawatts, with scope to increase in further stages.
"It is exciting. We are thrilled to tick off the first milestone."
He said a power purchase agreement would have to be reached once studies with Powerlink were completed.
Options of selling electricity onto the grid directly or having the sale completed by an electricity provider were being considered.
Mr Gemmell said his company was focusing on reducing the cost of construction.
Building a 500 megawatt stage would cost somewhere between $750 million and $1 billion.
"We would anticipate the earliest we would start construction would be mid to late next year."
The site's proximity to a major substation and high levels of sunshine west of the Great Dividing Range were factors in choosing the Darling Downs site.
Plans have also allowed for battery storage warehouses, which could feed electricity onto the grid at night time.
Mr Gemmell said his company wanted to provide cheap, competitive power.
He said there had also been interest in the project from international investors.
"Hopefully, this will be good news for our country in terms of energy mix."