Ratch Australia Corporation has confirmed the $100 million Collinsville Solar Farm remains a top priority for the company, dampening speculation that its decommissioned Collinsville Power Station will be revived as a high efficiency, low emission coal-fired generator.
Ratch Executive General Manager Business Development, Anthony Yeates, said the turbines had been removed from the power station and the surrounding environment had been rehabilitated ahead of recycling the site’s existing infrastructure and grid connection for its proposed 42 MW solar farm.
“We made the hard decision to shut the power station down because it had become uneconomic to keep it open. It was an old station requiring significant and very costly ongoing maintenance, and upon the expiry of some key commercial contracts it just did not make sense to keep it operational,” Mr Yeates said.
“However, we remain fully committed to the Collinsville Solar Farm and we are confident that the site will soon become a major energy precinct again.”
My Yeates said the solar farm was identified as one of Australia’s premier solar projects last September after being awarded $9.5 million in funding by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
“The ARENA grant supports our ongoing efforts to secure an off-taker for the power produced by the project which will take us closer to the start of construction,” Mr Yeates said.
“If all goes to plan, construction could kick off as soon as May or June this year which would be a great outcome for the Collinsville and Whitsunday region.”
Mr Yeates said the project would have a peak construction workforce of around 70 and employ two permanent staff once complete. Up to 20 staff will be required every six months to clean the solar panels.
Engineering and construction of the project would be contracted out to a tier one contractor which will be responsible for all subcontracting and purchasing and be contractually required to provide clear pathways for local workers and suppliers to participate in the project.
The Collinsville solar farm will feature around 180,000 solar photovoltaic panels and supply power equivalent to the annual needs of 15,000 homes.
Ratch owns and operates three wind farms in Australia and has an interest in a number of renewable energy development opportunities including the Mount Emerald Wind Farm near Mareeba which has now started construction.