European Energy seeks Queensland government approval for 1.1GW solar project

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If approved, the project would commence construction in 2025-26. Image: European Energy.

Danish developer European Energy is seeking Queensland government approval to pursue a 1.3GWp (1.1GWac) solar PV project via the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.

The Upper Calliope Solar Farm would be located in Mount Alma, Australia, within the Gladstone Regional Council. It would connect to the National Electricity Market (NEM) via a proposed Powerlink substation adjacent to the project site.

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If approved, internal overhead powerlines would reticulate the generated energy from the internal substations into the electricity network through the southeast portion of the site to a new grid substation to the Calvale to Calliope River 275kV transmission line.

Construction on the 2,700-hectare solar farm is targeted to commence in 2025-26 and be completed by 2028 at the latest. It is expected to contribute 5% of Queensland’s electricity and have a significant economic impact.

The project summary outlined that a battery energy storage system (BESS) is not proposed as part of the site’s initial development; however, BESS technology may be added adjacent to each internal collector substation as a future stage of development. The potential capacity of this has not been disclosed.

Rio Tinto signs ‘Australia’s biggest corporate PPA’ for the Upper Calliope Solar Farm

European Energy revealed in January 2024 that mining giant Rio Tinto signed the “biggest solar corporate power purchase agreement (PPA) in Australia” with the mining firm committed to purchasing all electricity from the plant for 25 years.

As per the Rio Tinto PPA, electricity from the project will power the company’s industrial operations in the area, which include an aluminium smelter and two alumina refineries near Gladstone: the Yarwun alumina refinery and the Queensland alumina refinery.

The project will contribute to Rio Tinto’s objective of securing 4GW of wind and solar energy to provide clean power for the three operations that currently utilise coal-powered energy sources.

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