A new solar farm will power Mount Isa’s 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 State Development Minister Steven Miles said the project is an excellent example of the demand for renewable energy, from all sectors of business and industry.
“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,” Miles said.
“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.
- Australia’s minerals could make it into a renewable energy powerhouse
- Fenner Dunlop branch goes solar
- $700m deal plan to power Whyalla Steelworks
“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.”
The project also aims to boost employment and the local economy, with a goal of hiring employing around 300 people during peak construction, with an ongoing workforce of one to five people.
APA CEO and Managing Director Rob Wheals said APA was pleased to have signed a 32-year lease with the Queensland Government for the Mica Creek site.
“APA has been working with Economic Development Queensland in relation to a lease to support the solar farm, and are very pleased to work with the Queensland Government to continue our strong relationship and support the ongoing development of the North West Minerals Province,” Wheals said.
“The 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 CY2023, while APA is in advanced discussions with a number of customers to commit to the development of stage two.