By HARRY CLARKE
MORE than 400 jobs will be required to build a major new solar energy project in Queensland’s Western Downs region, in a joint venture between two leading Japanese renewable energy developers.
The corporations Sojitz and ENEOS have confirmed that the 204 megawatt Edenvale Solar Farm will be built about 20km south of Chinchilla near ‘the crossroads’ where Tara Rd intersects with Kogan-Condamine Rd.
The site area is about 428 hectares or 4.3 square-kilometres.
Sojitz and ENEOS acquired a 100 percent stake in the project via the Australia-based Sapphire Energy Pty Ltd, a joint venture holding company equally owned by the two multinationals.
It’s unclear exactly when construction of the project will begin, or how much it will cost, but a press release by Sojitz said it was planned that the solar plant would be “energised” by the second half of 2022.
“Sojitz sees Australia as a high-growth market, considering its vast land area and the fact that the country has 1.5 times the level of solar radiation compared to Japan,” the Sojitz statement said.
“Sojitz aims to not only develop the projects in Australia moving forward, but also to provide a stable supply of renewable energy to Australian companies and Japanese companies conducting business in Australia, in order to contribute to the realisation of a decarbonised society.”
Sojitz is one of Japan’s major trading companies and has a strong investment and long trading history in Queensland’s mining industry, while ENEOS is Japan’s largest oil company and has a significant focus on renewables and hydrogen.
Of the renewable energy to be produced by the Edenvale Solar Farm, 70 per cent will be sold to a local electricity retailer to provide a stable supply of renewable energy, while part of the remaining 30 per cent will be supplied to Gregory Crinum Coal Mine near Emerald, which Sojitz owns and operates.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuck said the announcement showed international confidence in Queensland’s renewable energy future.
“This project will create a local jobs bonanza with over 400 jobs required during the construction phase,” the Premier said.
“Queensland has a strong relationship with Japan and this is clearly demonstrated here by this significant investment by Sojitz and ENEOS.”