Overview

Western Downs Green Power Hub is located approximately 22 km south of Chinchilla and 62 km north west of Dalby. It consists of up to 1,500 hectares of ground mounted solar panels and 2 Ha of battery energy storage,

The aim of this project is to develop an environmentally and economically sound solar farm and battery energy storage facility.

Western Downs Green Power Hub will generate approximately 1,047,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of clean, renewable electricity into the national power grid each year, thereby making a major contribution to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction. This reduction will be equivalent to taking either 330,000 cars off the road or planting 1,700,000 trees, producing enough electricity to power approximately 180,000 homes with renewable energy.

Neoen is focused on developing solar, wind and storage projects in Queensland. A combination of an ambitious Queensland Renewable Energy Target and a proactive Government to meet those targets provide highly favourable conditions for renewable energy projects in the State. Consequently, the company will expedite the development of Western Downs Green Power Hub, as well as several other projects in Queensland.

Neoen will leverage off its experience developing five comparable projects in NSW, four of which have received federal support in the form of a grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

Construction is expected to start mid 2019 providing employment opportunities for the region.

Site selection

Western Downs was identified by Neoen as a high-potential location for a solar farm in 2017.

An initial feasibility assessment has been undertaken to determine the suitability of the area to accommodate a solar farm and battery energy storage. This feasibility assessment has been based on the following criteria:

  • Availability of an abundant solar resource
  • Proximity to an existing electricity substation with good connection capacity
  • Sparse local population density
  • Landholders supportive of developing a solar farm on their property
  • Low environmental impact
  • Low expected visual impact
  • Suitable land in terms of:
    • factors that affect solar yield and construction costs (e.g. proximity to existing substation)
    • topography
    • land area
    • land zoning
    • geology
    • hydrology including flooding risk, and
    • access to the site.

western-downs-green-power-hub-drone-images

Planning

A planning permit application will be lodged to Western Downs Regional Council in December 2017. A response for the application was received in May 2018.

Studies undertaken as part of the planning permit application will include:

  • biodiversity
  • heritage (including Aboriginal heritage)
  • hydrology and flooding
  • soils, and
  • traffic and transport

Site Location and Preliminary Layout

The Western Downs Green Power Hub site comprises approximately 1,500 hectares of private freehold land and will consist of approximately 1,117,000 solar panels. A preliminary layout will be provided for public viewing soon.

Electrical Connection

The electricity generated from the Western Downs Green Power Hub will be transmitted to the national electricity grid. The solar farm and battery storage system will be connected to an on-site substation via underground cables or overhead transmission line. A substation is a part of an electrical generation, transmission, and distribution system. Substations can transform voltage from high to low, or from low to high voltage. The substation will then connect via overhead cables into the 275kV Western Downs Substation.