A Longreach solar farm has been shortlisted by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) which, if successful, could create local jobs.
The farm is one of the smallest on the shortlist with a predicted 15 megawatt capacitiy, but if chosen it will receive federal and long-term state funding.
Minister for Energy, Biofuels and Water supply Mark Bailey says its construction would promote investment and help reduce carbon emissions.
“These projects aren’t just about delivering environmental outcomes, they’ll deliver real economic benefits too,” Mr Bailey says.
ARENA shortlisted 22 farms across the country, 10 of which are in Queensland alone, “clearly showing that our sunshine-soaked state is becoming a destination of choice for the development of large-scale solar energy projects,” he says.
“Queensland-based projects shortlisted by ARENA that go on to secure federal funding support will become eligible for the State Government’s Solar 60 program.”
Solar 60 is a Queensland Government initiative that will provide long term funding to generate up to 60 megawatts of solar power in the state.
Queensland is hoping to follow in the footsteps of other successful large-scale solar generation plants in the USA, Spain and India.
“By providing long-term financial support the Solar 60 initiative ideally complements ARENA’s program which will provide upfront capital grants to successful applicants,” Mr Bailey says.
“The combination of these two initiatives will lower the cost of large-scale solar and remove obstacles such as financing and commercial viability to support the growth of large scale solar in Queensland.”
Shortlisted farms will now begin stage two of ARENA’s competitive funding round with the successful projects anticipated to be announced by the end of the year.
Other Queensland based farms include those in Proserpine, Collinsville and Kidston.
The successful shortlisted farms beat 55 other applicants.