Renewable energy company Renew Estate is scheduled to begin construction on its $300 million 300MW solar farm at Rodds Bay about 55kms south of Gladstone, within six months.
If built to its potential Rodds Bay would be one of the largest solar farms in Australia and will provide enough renewable energy to power about 88,000 homes said Renew Estate director Toby Roxburgh.
Construction is expected to start late 2018 to early 2019 and the project will be fully operational in the first quarter of 2020, Mr Roxburgh said.
Speaking ahead of this year’s GEA Major Industry Conference on October 11 where work packages will be announced, Renew Estate director Toby Roxburgh said the project would play a pivotal role in the development of Gladstone as the “energy capital” of Queensland.
It would provide substantial opportunities to local businesses, contractors and workers, Mr Roxburgh said.
“We will collaborate with local training organisations to ensure local job-seekers have the skills needed to construct and operate a solar farm, and we will prioritise the employment of locals in enduring roles once the project is operational,” he said.
“We are currently in the process of short listing EPC contractors to a short list of two which will be announced soon and part of the requirement is to maximise local content and the local workforce.”
Renew Estate said it had pinpointed Gladstone for the location of the solar farm due to its existing heavy industries, and the need for new, renewable energy supply, to replace the region’s ageing coal-fired assets.
A new second site, expected to be announced at the conference, is yet to be gazetted.