A new solar farm of up to 88 megawatt will power the Mount Isa North West Minerals Province under a two staged plan with an initial investment of more than $80 million.
APA has announced it will commence building the 44 megawatt stage one of the Mica Creek Solar Farm.
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said the project is an excellent example of the demand for renewable energy, from all sectors of business and industry.
“We’re backing businesses, backing renewable energy, and the North West Minerals Province as we keep delivering Queensland’s plan for economic recovery from COVID-19,” Mr Miles said.
“The North West region is a significant part of Queensland’s resource-based economy and, with its endowment of new economy minerals, will play an important part in helping propel the boom in emerging technologies.
“A mining customer of APA were seeking a renewable energy solution as they move to reduce their reliance on gas and transform their business to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals.
“This has led APA to a long term lease for 198 hectares of industrial land from the Queensland Government to develop a solar farm, with Stage 1 capacity of 44 megawatts and Stage 2 Capacity of an additional 44 megawatts, taking both stages to 88 megawatts.
“This project will also provide a boost to employment and the local economy, employing around 300 people during peak construction, and an ongoing workforce of between 1-5 people.
APA has been working with Economic Development Queensland to support the solar farm, and recently signed a 32-year lease with the Queensland Government for the Mica Creek site.
APA CEO and Managing Director Rob Wheals said the Mount Isa site is perfect because it is adjacent to APA’s existing gas and power generation assets, which delivers reliable and affordable power to the region.
“APA has proudly invested more than $1 billion in energy assets in the North West Minerals Province, underscoring our commitment to delivering safe, reliable and affordable energy security to the region.
The first stage of the solar farm is expected to be operational by the first quarter of 2023, while APA is in advanced discussions with a number of customers to commit to the development of stage two.