Elliott Green Power chief executive Umberto Tamburrino.
Elliott Green Power chief executive Umberto Tamburrino.

JOBS: Queensland set to become renewable exporter

QUEENSLAND could become a net exporter of renewable energy into the national grid, according to the company behind a new solar farm near Maryborough.

Elliott Green Power (EGP) will today officially open its 95 megawatt Susan River Solar Farm, the first of three projects the Sydney-based firm will build to deliver enough power for 80,000 homes across southeast Queensland and northwest New South Wales.

EGP chief executive Umberto Tamburrino said Queensland was leading the nation in renewable energy construction, helped by plentiful sunshine, good, available land and a favourable regulatory environment.

Queensland has a target of 50 per cent of energy coming from renewable sources by 2030. EGP joins a growing number of solar farms either operating or under construction across Queensland stretching from Barcaldine to the Sunshine Coast.

Adani Renewables Australia last year completed construction of its $100 million, 65mW Rugby Run solar project near Moranbah in central Queensland with a long-term contract to supply power to electricity retailer Alinta. The solar farm is capable of powering 23,000 homes each year.

EGP also is building a 75mW solar farm at nearby Childers and a 132mW facility near Warren in northwest New South Wales.

"Queensland is already a net exporter of electricity (to other states) through the interconnector," Mr Tamburrino said. "This is helped by the fact that wholesale electricity prices are lower in Queensland.

He said solar was cheaper than other forms of energy in that you don't have an ongoing cost of production. "The cost base is upfront when you build the facility," he said. "The cost of building solar installations is only 10 per cent of what it was a decade ago."

EGP, which has invested $400 million in the three projects, said 900 jobs had been created during the construction phase with use made of local quarries, concrete suppliers and contractors. Construction of all three projects is being undertaken by Biosar, through its Australian arm.