The 300MW Rodds Bay Solar Farm south of Gladstone has issued a Notice to Proceed under its connection agreement with Powerlink, and is now planning to begin construction later this year.

One of Australia’s largest solar projects, Rodds Bay is being developed by Renew Estate, a joint venture between Australian companies Energy Estate and Beast Solutions and Germany’s Wirsol (part of the Wircon Group, which also owns the Whitsunday, Hamilton and Clermont solar farms in Queensland).

In a statement issued on 2 April, Renew Estate announced that the project had passed all required tests related to system strength and generator performance, had received planning approval from Gladstone Regional Council, and had issued its Notice to Proceed.

Renew Estate Director Simon Currie said construction was now scheduled to commence by late 2020, and this was great news for both the project and the economy.

‘We continue to passionately believe that this project will deliver significant and impactful benefits not just to Gladstone, but also to the wider regional economy in Queensland across 2020 and 2021,’ Mr Currie said.

‘Our vision for this solar farm has always been to create positive and enduring social and economic legacies, including the creation of hundreds of jobs during construction.

‘We currently have nearly 400 businesses and individuals on our database who have registered an interest in the construction or operational phase of the solar farm.

‘It will be one of the first renewable energy projects located close to Gladstone and will play a pivotal role in enabling Gladstone to become the future energy capital of Australia.’

Rodd’s Bay is a 300MW (DC) project that will also include a battery-storage installation of 82MW/164MWh, or 2 hours of storage.

It will connect to Queensland’s 275kV transmission network south of Gladstone, between Bororen and Rodds Bay.

Renewables are identified as a growing export market in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022, and Queensland’s renewables projects have attracted significant international investment, including the recently announced MacIntyre Wind Farm Precinct near Warwick.

TIQ is working with Energy Estate to seek investment for other large-scale Queensland renewables projects and to help develop and enhance relevant local supply chains.