PowerLink signed an agreement with Pacific Hydro for a project with the potential to be 500 megawatts (MW) — the first part of the Haughton solar farm. Obviously, that’s a huge project, but the organization says it has far more than that in its pipeline, “We also have more than 150 enquiries or applications to connect totaling nearly 30,000 MW and almost all of them are from renewable sources,” said CEO Merry York.
Queensland is eyeing quite a potential surge in solar power growth, as explained by the state energy minister Dr. Anthony Lytham, “Queensland’s large-scale renewable energy capacity is set to double over the next 12 months, as our $20 billion pipeline of committed and potential renewable projects starts to deliver.“
The state has a target of 50% renewables by 2030.
The Haughton project will be Pacific Hydro’s first in Queensland, and the Burdekin Shire Council has granted the company up to 500 MW of solar at the site, which is also near a 275 kV transmission line that is part of the national grid. The first phase of the project will be for 100 MW.
The push toward more renewables there has increased jobs in clean energy. An analysis attempted to estimate exactly how many jobs renewables in Queensland could add to the local economy, finding that:
“This kind of investment in northern Queensland has the potential to create thousands of jobs in the coming decades. An SKM report commissioned by the Clean Energy Council estimated that each 100MW of new renewable energy would create 96 direct local jobs, 285 state jobs, and 475 national jobs during the construction phase. During operation those figures would be nine local jobs, 14 state jobs and 32 national jobs per 100MW of generation.
Spreading 10GW of construction over 20 years at 500MW per year would therefore deliver 480 ongoing local construction jobs and 900 ongoing local operation jobs once all are built, and total national direct employment of 2,400 and 3,200 in construction and operations, respectively.”
Additionally, Australia’s solar power potential is huge; the country has abundant sunlight, “To power all of Australia’s energy needs would require only 0.3% of the land surface to be devoted to solar power generation.”
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