France’s Neoen to build A$500 million solar farm in Queensland and world’s biggest battery in Victoria

27 May 2020

Overseas investment in Australian renewable energy is powering ahead. In early May, the French energy utility, Neoen, announced it would build Australia’s largest solar farm in Chinchilla, southern Queensland.

Costing approximately A$500 million, the 480MW Western Downs project will likely generate 300 jobs during construction alone. Under agreements with the state government, approximately 320 MW of output will then be purchased by Queensland’s new publicly owned generator, CleanCo.

According to the Queensland Government, construction will commence in July. The solar farm should power up in the first quarter of 2022.

Queensland Energy Minister, Dr Anthony Laynham, says the project will provide benefits to local communities.

‘Neoen will maximise the use of suppliers and the local workforce in Chinchilla,’ he says. ‘This maintains Queensland’s progress towards the … target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.’

Neoen continues to develop other opportunities around the country.

In April, the company confirmed plans to build the world’s largest battery near Geelong, Victoria. Neoen’s executives say their project represents the most efficient way to increase power grid reliability. The battery will be charged from the grid, including from conventional sources, and then act as a backup when demand soars.

The proposed A$300 million battery will likely be capable of storing more than 500 MWh of power, and deliver an output at least four times as great as the Tesla battery at Neoen’s existing Hornsdale Wind Farm in South Australia.

Founded in 2008, Neoen is listed on Euronext and is a leading French, independent producer of renewable power energy. It currently has projects with a capacity of 3 GW in operation or construction in 14 countries around the world.

Since 2013, Austrade has helped Neoen to enter the Australian market and become one of the country’s leading renewable energy developers, and to expand its portfolio into hydrogen.