Queensland is quickly earning its title as Sunshine State in more ways than one.
A new solar farm on the horizon demonstrates the impact of renewable energy throughout the region, particularly improving access to power in rural areas. Moreover, it showcases the opportunities for solar power to work with current non-renewable energy systems to create a facility that is capable of utilising stored solar energy as a backup.
Queensland to receive new solar plant
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced the commencement of Queensland’s Barcaldine Remote Community Solar Farm.
According to ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht, the project will reflect the network benefits that solar power systems can provide for rural areas.
“Fringe-of-grid locations in regional Australia face a number of challenges with reliability and outages caused by network constraints and a lack of infrastructure,” explained Mr Frischknecht.
“There is a clear value proposition for large-scale solar in the Barcaldine area, which has an excellent solar resource and experiences voltage and frequency control issues as well as load management challenges.”
Mr Frischknecht also explored the possibility of the solar grid acting as a large-scale energy storage system to “create additional network benefits”. What this would mean is the solar plant would work with the gas power system to act as backup power in the event of an outage.
The project has a forecasted completion date of April 2017 and is expected to create up to 175 construction-related jobs for the local community. Furthermore, Deloitte has released its final Queensland Business Outlook for 2015 which has a positive outlook for the region.
Positive economic future for Queensland
Deloitte’s report indicates a strong economic outlook for Queensland despite the Treasury predicting otherwise. According to Deloitte’s analysis, Queensland’s GDP is likely to rise by 3.7 per cent over the next 5 years.
This is the highest rate of states and significantly higher than the 2.75 per cent forecasted by the Treasury. Queensland-based Deloitte Access Partner Mark Ingham explained that companies in the Sunshine State can use these conditions to their advantage, with the right collaboration.
“Given that Australia’s rural and remote areas are rich in natural resources and have particularly strong communities, we believe that when people, communities, technology, and governments act together, these dynamic forces can unlock the potential of place and spark a virtuous circle of prosperity,” said Mr Ingham.
However, non-renewable energy also plays a key role in driving Queensland’s economy, with important liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in the region.
Queensland LNG facility receives more investment
One of these key projects is QGC Pty Limited’s Queensland Curtis LNG project, which recently delivered its first shipment of LNG. One of the advantages of using LNG, as reported by BG Group, QGC Pty Limited’s parent company, is that it is known for being a clean source of energy. This is due to relatively low carbon dioxide emissions, up to 70 per cent lower than coal.
Recently, the firm announced an extension, referred to as the Charlie development. QGC Pty Limited Managing Director Tony Nunan believes this shows the future stability of renewable energy power systems.
“This is a vote of confidence in the secure, long-term future of Queensland’s natural gas industry, which will employ Queenslanders for many years to come,” said Mr Nunan.
“The Charlie development will help to sustain the benefits of our investment in local communities and the state, including up to 1,600 construction jobs and business opportunities during the two-year project.”
Whether in Queensland or elsewhere, renewable energy can help enhance current power systems. Contact the team at MPower for more information as to how your project can benefit from utilising stored solar energy or other clean sources.