Australia’s Sunshine Coast Regional Council has granted planning permission to Energy Parks Australia (EPA) for its new solar plant in Valdora, Queensland. With a capacity of 10MW, the development dwarfs Australia’s current largest system – Liddell’s 3MW concentrating solar power (CSP) facility – and will cost AU$40 million (US$43 million) to build.
EPA is currently on the lookout for domestic and international investors to fund the transformation of 50 hectares of disused former sugar cane farmland into one of the Australasia’s most significant solar developments. Building work will begin before the end of the year.
“We are hoping the development will be a catalyst to drive local capacity, awareness and investment,” said EPA’s director Jason Hague.
EPA is yet to agree a power purchase agreement for the electricity generated by the Valdora system, although six potential corporate buyers have been identified, including the Sunshine Coast University and the local council. “None of them use renewable energy at the moment and they are likely to see the benefit of localised power production,” Hague added.