The Western Downs Regional Council has approved the Beelbee Solar Farm, which is owned by the APA Group (who are also responsible for the Darling Downs Solar Farm which they purchased from Origin Energy in May with an option over the Beelbee project). This is the ninth solar farm approved for the Western Downs region.
About the Beelbee Solar Farm
The Chronicle has reported that the Beelbee solar farm will feed between 150MW and 240MW into the national electricity grid. It will also include up to 100MW of battery storage. The Deputy Mayor of Western Downs, Andrew Smith, was quoted in the paper and was very excited about the opportunities APA Group are providing to the local area with their solar investments.
“What a month it’s been and I’m told there’s even more development applications in the pipeline,” Cr Smith said.
“Complementing their Darling Downs Solar Farm, their commitment to bring another renewable energy project to our region highlights the Western Downs’ economic strength and impressive portfolio on the solar energy scene.
Smith also noted that the planning and development assessment team at Western Downs have been working hard to minimise the turnaround time for development applications, telling the Chronicle that the Beelbee Solar Farm was approved in “less than six weeks”. It’ll be interesting to see how this helps the Western Downs compete against Toowoomba solar farms – let’s hope we see a lot more in the future as their close proximity to Brisbane means that it could be a great opportunity to feed energy back into the grid for Australia’s third largest city.
No word yet on PPA’s, but Origin Energy will buy all the renewable energy generated by the Darling Downs solar farm (which will generate 110MW) from 2018-2030, so perhaps the APA Group will piggyback onto that for a PPA with the Beelbee solar farm.