Called Project Gangarri, the 120MW solar farm will feature 400,000 photovoltaic (PV) panels. It will be located near the existing power infrastructure and inside Shell’s QGC onshore natural gas project, which stretches across Queensland’s Western Downs region.
Shell Energy Australia chairman Tony Nunan said: “We believe solar will play an increasing role in the global energy system, especially when partnered with a reliable energy source such as gas.
“We are proud to be investing in the ‘Sunshine State’ and Queensland is a key centre of activity for Shell’s global ambition to expand our integrated power business. Shell’s Gangarri solar farm will help power the operations of our QGC project and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by around 300,000 tonnes a year.
“It continues our long-standing commitment to the regional development of Queensland and creating thriving, diverse local economies.”
The solar facility is expected to be completed by early 2021. During the construction phase, the project is expected to create 200 employment opportunities in the region.
Once completed, the electricity generated by the facility will be sufficient to power 50,000 homes in the region. The clean energy generated by the facility will be delivered to the National Electricity Market grid.
In addition, Shell Energy Australia will be the first customer for the project. The company will purchase the equivalent amount of electricity from the national grid, which will be sold to Shell’s QGC business to reduce its carbon footprint.
Shell Energy Australia vice-president Greg Joiner said: “Solar is one of the building blocks of Shell’s power strategy. “We are increasingly incorporating renewable energy into customer offers, as we have done here for QGC, by combining renewable energy with a firmed energy solution offering reliable supply, a fixed price and a cleaner lower emission package.”