Australia offers some of the most ideal conditions for large-scale solar projects in the world, and our teams are excited to be part of these projects.
Our Queensland team is celebrating some recent wins with the approval of two major solar projects, the Origin Braemar 100MW power station (approved in late 2015, later sold to APA and currently under construction) and the Shell Australia Delga Park 250MW power station which was approved last month. The projects were approved in record time, eight and nine weeks respectively via planning legislation. Both applications were so precisely drafted that neither triggered an information request from the council, which is an exceptional achievement.
Emily Maddison, Environmental Planner in our Brisbane office worked extensively on the lodgement of these development applications. She says, “Having open lines of communication with the assessment manager before lodging the applications was very helpful to pre-empt and iron any issues out. We also received a lot of support from our Power team to help build a strong understanding of the technical issues around the projects. And, we had access to excellent technical reports produced by our in-house support teams, particularly Hydrology and Traffic Planning.”
Mike Hall, Technical Executive Planning said, “The success on these projects ultimately came down to the strong and trusted relationship we have with the regulators and the quality of advice provided to clients. For example, the Western Downs Regional Council has come to know us as a reliable and trustworthy partner. As a result, Origin was able to leverage this relationship and be very receptive and accepting of advice when scoping the project; for instance in avoiding drainage lines or clearing native vegetation.”
Emily and Mike are both working on another 500MW solar farm development application in the Western Downs Region, which if developed, will be the largest solar farm in Queensland, spanning 6km from north to south.
With Queensland having 1,117MW of committed solar farm projects to date, this proposed 500MW solar farm would significantly contribute to the state’s 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.
Battery storage and new technology in this space are likely to be a game changer in 2018 as Australia transitions to a more sustainable energy mix with solar in the lead.