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Queensland commits $100 million for solar power projects

Queensland could become home to one of the world’s largest solar power stations as Minister for Mines and Energy Stephen Robertson today announces $100 million in funding towards the development of up to two new commercial-scale solar power projects.

The investment will support Queensland solar projects successful in attracting a share of funding under the Federal Government’s Solar Flagships program. The Solar Flagships Program is a Commonwealth fund to support the construction of large-scale solar power plants in Australia.

Round one supports one large solar thermal station and one solar photovoltaic (PV) station and currently all of the solar thermal proponents are proposing to build their station in Queensland. These plants will present a stepping stone in providing solar generated power to Queensland, and Australian, households and industry through the national electricity grid.

The $100 million will support two successful Queensland proponents with the costs of developing solar power projects under the Solar Flagships program. The total amount of funding is conditional on two projects proceeding in Queensland. If only one Queensland project is approved by the Commonwealth the funding will be reduced.

The Clinton Report into the state’ solar potential which was released last week showed that Queensland is capable of hosting a large solar powered precinct. The Queensland solar projects on the drawing board are capable of powering over 50,000 homes for solar thermal plants at the scales proposed.

These proposed projects will be between 150 megawatts and 250 megawatts for solar thermal, and a part of a multi-state PV project.

The endorsed Queensland projects currently shortlisted for possible funding under the Solar Flagships program are:

Solar photovoltaic
·AGL Energy proposes a multi-site project using thin film solar photovoltaic (PV) technology generating up to 150MW at multiple sites across Australia including Queensland, ACT, NSW and South Australia;

Solar thermal
·Parsons Brinckerhoff proposes a 150MW parabolic trough solar thermal plant at Kogan Creek near Chinchilla in Queensland;
·Wind Prospect CWP proposes a 250MW linear fresnel solar thermal plant at Kogan Creek in Queensland; and
·Transfield proposes a 150MW linear fresnel solar thermal plant at Collinsville in Queensland.

Queensland plans to doube its solar energy capacity within five years.

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