Global energy giant Acciona Energy has been selected to transform 1,250 hectares of underutilised state-owned land at Aldoga into a solar energy project supporting hundreds of jobs and delivering long-term community benefits.

According to the Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick the signing of the Agreement for Lease signalled the start of a project that will generate renewable energy and boost the local economy.

“Acciona Energy will develop, finance, construct and operate a $ 500 million solar farm through a 30-year lease with the Queensland Government and they are committed to Buy Queensland and Gladstone Buy Local procurement strategies,” Dick said.

“At maximum capacity, up to 265 megawatts (AC), will deliver the equivalent amount of energy needed to supply up to 122,000 households, which is around five times the number of households in Gladstone.

“This invaluable project will support up to 240construction jobs and 10 ongoing jobs, and better yet, the company will adopt Buy Queensland and Gladstone Buy Local procurement policies, giving preference to local sub-contractors and manufacturers,” said Dick.

“As part of the lease agreements, Acciona Energy will also establish a community benefits fund of between $50,000 to $120,000 per year, representing between $1.5 million to $3.6 million over the 30-year lease, to be provided to local clubs, associations and community groups in the region.

“Combined with the renewable energy that will be generated, and the lease payments that will be made to the State, this project represents a major boost to the local community – economically, environmentally and socially.”

Energy Minister Anthony Lynham welcomed the news on the Aldoga solar plant, which will connect to the grid via Powerlink’s Larcom Creek substation.

“This is another project to join Queensland’s renewable energy pipeline of jobs and investment,” said Lynham.

“Over the past 18 months, five large-scale solar projects have commenced operations bringing the total operational capacity of renewable energy in Queensland to more than 780 megawatts.

“Another 23 large-scale projects, totalling 2,200 megawatts, are currently financially committed or under construction. These projects will create almost 3600 jobs during construction and boost investment by around $4.2 billion,” said Lynham.

“Queensland is a state with the right renewable investment credentials and the Palaszczuk Government is putting the right investment climate in place to continue this boom in renewable investment.”

Minister Dick said there was substantial national and international interest in the renewable energy project, with 16 companies submitting an Expression of Interest to Economic Development Queensland to transform the land at Aldoga into a renewable energy project.

“An extremely competitive shortlist of five major renewable energy companies saw Acciona Energy selected to now undertake a detailed feasibility study and to obtain development approvals,” Dick said.

“This could take around 12 months, meaning construction may begin in the second half of next year, and electricity generation in the second half of 2020.”