Adani Group could develop large-scale solar project in QLD

The Indian company behind plans to develop a mega-coal mining project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin could also have plans to build a large-scale solar plant in the heart of the state’s coal region, the Bowen Basin.

RenewEconomy reported that executives from Adani Group have been meeting with landowners in the Isaac Regional Council to find out if they are interested in doing a deal to host a large solar farm. There is no word on the scale of the project, or if it will go ahead.

Adani has long been seeking federal and state government support for its $15 billion Galilee Basin coal project, which requires massive investment in a rail link to Abbot Point and an upgrade of the port.

But private banks are baulking at the project, and even the federal government seems less keen since the replacement of Tony Abbott as prime minister, although the state Labor government seems supportive.

A spokesman for Adani was not immediately able to confirm that the company had held talks with landowners, or on the status of the project. If a project is proposed, it will likely take some months just to get development approval from the local council, even after agreements are struck with local landowners.

Queensland is emerging as a hot-spot for large scale solar developments, with Ergon Energy holding a tender for up to 150MW of capacity, and the Queensland government holding a tender for up to 60MW of capacity.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation are offering $350 million in grants and finance to support large scale solar, although this is nation-wide.

A solar project from Adani would be ironic, given its commitment to coal and the fact that the proposed plant it would be located in the middle of coal country. But it would make sense.

Adani has been making heavy commitments to the solar industry in its home country, recently announcing it would look to build 10GW of solar, as part of the Modi government’s plan to have 100GW of solar by 2022.

It has agreed with the government of Rajasthan to set up a 10,000MW solar park in that state, which will emerge as the largest such integrated facility in India. It has also signed a deal with SunEdison to invest $US4 billion in a solar PV manufacturing facility in the state of Gujarat.

© 2015 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson