Shell Australia announced it will build and operate its first industrial-scale solar electricity farm near Wandoan in central Queensland, Australia. The solar farm will generate 120 megawatts of solar electricity from about 400,000 photovoltaic panels and is expected to be completed in early 2021. The project will create up to 200 new jobs during construction.
This investment is the latest example of how Shell is building a cleaner, global power business and follows the company’s recent acquisition of leading industrial electricity retailer, ERM Power, and investment in solar developer, ESCO Pacific. Shell Energy Australia will be the foundation customer for the project, with an equivalent amount of electricity purchased from the national grid and sold to Shell’s QGC business, reducing their carbon footprint.
Queensland was selected as the location for the project due to its natural advantages for solar generation, having some of the most reliable sunshine in the world. The project is also located adjacent to existing power infrastructure and inside the footprint of Shell’s QGC onshore natural gas project that stretches across Queensland’s Western Downs region.
“We believe solar will play an increasing role in the global energy system, especially when partnered with a reliable energy source such as gas,” said Shell Australia chairman Tony Nunan.
“We are proud to be investing in the ‘Sunshine State’ and Queensland is a key centre of activity for Shell’s global ambition to expand our integrated power business. Shell’s Gangarri solar farm will help power the operations of our QGC project and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by around 300,000 tonnes a year.
“It continues our long-standing commitment to the regional development of Queensland and creating thriving, diverse local economies. This project will create local jobs in a range of skilled trades, including electricians, machinists and operators. We recognise the need to play an active role in creating the local talent, skills and opportunities that will be critical for regional Queensland to realise its potential as a renewable energy powerhouse.
“Shell is proud to support the development of local talent and opportunities for young people to acquire skilled trades through our Pathways programs, which creates local traineeships and apprenticeships, and our investment in science education programs in local schools, including in the Western Downs. Shell has invested over $58 million in regional Queensland over the last ten years supporting these and other social investment programs.”
“Solar is one of the building blocks of Shell’s power strategy,” said Greg Joiner, Vice-President for Shell Energy in Australia.
“We are increasingly incorporating renewable energy into customer offers, as we have done here for QGC, by combining renewable energy with a firmed energy solution offering reliable supply, a fixed price and a cleaner lower emission package.”