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Agency says energy transition 'too slow' despite new solar farm


A $215 million solar farm near Chinchilla has reached financial close, but a Federal Government agency that tipped in $37 million, believes the net zero transition is too slow.

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X-Elio’s Blue Grass solar project has already stitched up a deal for 25 per cent offtake from Salesforce and began construction in 2020. It now expects to full commercial operations this quarter after the Clean Energy Finance Corporation funding.

The 200-megawatt solar farm is expected to offset about 320,000 tonnes of CO2 a year and provide enough power for 80,000 homes.

But CEFC chief executive Ian Learmonth said despite increased funding from the agency, the transition to net zero was too slow.

“The transition to net zero emissions requires substantial decarbonisation at a much faster pace than we are currently achieving,” he said.

“One of the most effective ways to do that is to fortify Australia’s renewable energy sector and reduce the cost of solar PV generation to help meet stretch targets for technologies such as green hydrogen, low emission steel and aluminium.”

Learmonth’s reference to lower costs relates to the technology used in Blue Grass’s solar panels which were expected to be significantly more efficient.

The State Government owned generator, Stanwell, has also agreed to an offtake from Blue Grass as it seeks to offset its coal produced energy and meet customer needs for green power.

About 400 construction jobs had been created in the development of Blue Grass.

X-Elio said the Blue Grass project was the “opening phase” of its interest in Australia. It has another 600Mw in the development pipeline on Australia’s east coast.





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