An ex-frontier services town in far North-West Queensland is set to benefit from the construction of a new solar plant, which will demonstrate the value of renewable energy at the edge of the National Electricity Market.
The Australian Government is providing $8.4 million to support the construction of a 5 MW solar PV plant on the outskirts of Normanton.
“Solar plants have a great deal to offer in regional Australia,” Minister Hunt said.
“Australia has a unique set of energy challenges. Eastern Australia is serviced by the NEM, the world’s longest interconnected power system, and there are other large grids in the West and North”
“Many regional communities and industries lie at the fringes of these grids and rely on electricity that’s generated far away and fed through long stretches of transmission lines. These locations often also have an abundance of sunshine.”
“Building solar PV in these scenarios, closer to where the electricity is used, can give consumers and businesses access to more reliable and efficient power.”
“The Normanton Solar Farm will save more than 7,500 tonnes of CO2 per annum and serve as a live example of these benefits, potentially paving the way for more solar plants to be constructed.”
Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald said that the Normanton community has been supportive of the plant since it was first proposed by local Doug Scouller. Scouller Energy is a joint owner of the plant and will develop it alongside Canadian Solar.”
“Twenty jobs are expected to be created at the peak of construction and local suppliers will be used for civil and electrical contracting, freight, IT systems and accommodation, further benefitting the region’s economy,” Senator Macdonald said.
Queensland electricity distributer Ergon Energy is also onboard to analyse the grid benefits of the plant, which will be compiled and released in a report for the industry. This knowledge will be invaluable for informing future projects and decision making.
Normanton Solar Farm is scheduled for completion in December 2016.