Under the purchase agreement, Telstra will secure long-term supply and price security from a renewable energy source while providing RES with the security of the offtake for the new 70MW plant.
Construction of the Emerald solar project is expected to begin in the second half of 2017 and is expected to create 200 jobs.
Electricity generation is expected to begin in 2018.
Telstra Energy executive director Ben Burge said the agreement was an important step in Telstra’s strategy to more actively manage its energy consumption and costs, while also contributing to reducing emissions and stimulating investment in regional Australia.
“We are proud to be taking an active role in Australia’s transition to a lower emissions economy, complementing our long-standing energy efficiency and sustainability programs that saw our emissions intensity per unit of data fall by 56 per cent over three years” Mr Burge said.
RES Australia chief executive officer Marco Perona said corporate PPAs were particularly well suited to the Australian energy market dynamics.
“I would like to commend Telstra for taking the corporate initiative to lead the market. We look forward to delivering this project in partnership with them,” he said.
Queensland Energy Minister Mark Bailey said Telstra’s commitment was a vote of confidence in the Government’s priorities – jobs in regional Queensland and the creation of a new large-scale renewable energy sector.
“More than one gigawatt (or 1000MW) of privately funded renewable energy projects are currently in the works delivering more than $2 billion of new investment to Queensland and around 2000 direct jobs, mostly in our regions,” Mr Bailey said.
He said in the past 12 months alone, 16 large-scale renewable energy projects had been committed to in Queensland.
“Large-scale projects such as the 25 megawatt Barcaldine Solar Farm are beginning to feed into our grid and more large scale projects will start to come online as a result of the Palaszczuk Government’s Solar 150 initiative, including the Whitsunday Solar Farm, Kidston Solar Project, Oakey Solar Farm, and the Longreach Solar Farm,” Mr Bailey said.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to transitioning to a clean energy future.
“Maintaining the State’s existing baseload generation fleet while adding more renewable energy options to the mix is the right way to take the State’s regional economy forward.”