RED lodges paperwork
100 jobs possible in major energy project planned for North East of Emerald.
Wednesday 22 November 2017
Private company Renewable Energy Developments (RED) has lodged paperwork with the Federal Department of Environment this week, for the development of a 215 MW solar farm within eight kilometres of the Oaky Creek and Gregory coal mines.
Known as the Gregory Solar Farm, it would cover 872 hectares, and could include an energy storage system consisting of batteries contained in enclosures the size of shipping containers.
“Construction would last for a period of up to 18 months,” the company says.
“ Up to 100 staff would be employed during the peak period, and local staff and contractors would be utilised wherever possible.
“The solar farm is expected to have an operational life of 30 years after which it would be either be decommissioned or repowered with new equipment.”
The lodging of referrals with the Federal Department of Environment is a small but significant step for the development of an energy project. The acceptance of a referral entitles RED to begin the enormous task of getting an approved Environmental Impact Statement.
One issue the company will have to address is the impact of solar reflection on pilots trying to land at the nearby Gregory mine airstrip.
“The identified potential risk to aviation from the solar farm is glint and glare,” RED said.
“Glint is a quick reflection that occurs when the sun is reflected on a smooth surface and glare is a longer, sustained reflection.
“Infrastructure at the site that may cause glint or glare, [however] impacts to air traffic is considered to be low as solar panels are designed to absorb as much solar energy as possible to maximise electricity generation.
“In addition, the panels would also have an anti-reflective coating, and there are numerous airports in Australia that have installed solar farms on airport land.”
The company says it plans to start work before the end of this financial year, subject to approvals.
In September Adani announced they would build a $100 million 65 MW solar plant by the end of the year near Moranbah.
The announcement by Adani Renewables CEO, Jennifer Purdie follows the recent development approval given to the project by Isaac Regional Council.
The 65MW project is the first of several stages planned for Rugby Run where Adani wants to increase solar power generation to 170 MW. Australia wide Adani says it plans to build 1500 MW of solar capacity in the next five years.