POSSIBLY the most positive step toward developing a major renewable energy project in Queensland is about to take place in the mining community of Collinsville and the Whitsunday Regional Councils has already provided Development Approval to the proposed Collinsville Solar PV power project.
The project is being undertaken by RATCH Australia (RAC) which is in the process of investigating options to redevelop the Collinsville Coal-fired power station site for hybrid solar thermal and gas fired generation as well as the solar photovoltaic (PV).
Whitsunday Regional Council’s Mayor Jenny Whitney said that Council is extremely supportive of Ratch Australia in creating one of the largest solar parks in the southern hemisphere.
“The development of the Solar PV site is the first step in ensuring that the Collinsville Power Station becomes a sustainable asset for Collinsville,” Mayor Whitney said.
“This is the type of diversity that is required for the community in helping to re-generate jobs and ensure longevity in employment in Collinsville,” she said.
“Council looks forward to working with Ratch Australia to create an energy park for the future.”
RAC plan to commence construction of the Solar PV power station in 2014, becoming operational in 2015.
Executive General Manager for RATCH-Australia Geoff Dutton welcomed the Council approval for the proposed Collinsville Solar PV power station saying it is great news for RATCH – Australia, the Collinsville community.
‘This Solar PV power station is the 1st stage of the re-development of the Collinsville Coal-fired power station site,’ Mr Dutton said.
The Solar PV power station has a planned capacity of between 20-30 MW– which is enough power to supply between 6000-7500 homes. The total capital cost for the Solar PV power station is expected to be $50 million.
The Solar PV power station will represent a major capital investment in regional Queensland and increase the diversity of the regional economy. The construction phase will generate employment for skilled and unskilled worker and is expected to ‘break the ice’ on the development of renewable energy projects in Central and Northern Queensland.
Collinsville Power Station was operated until December 2012 as an intermediate plant fuelled by locally mined coal and with a total output of 180 MW.
RATCH-Australia is 80 per cent owned by a major Thai power generation company Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding PCL (“RATCH”) and 20 per cent owned by the ASX listed engineering services company Transfield Services Limited (“TSE”).