Billionaire announces mega renewables venture

Australia’s richest man has announced plans to invest Aus$3 billion to create the southern hemisphere’s largest renewables energy project.

Dr Andrew Forrest who has made much of his fortune through mining and iron ore has announced contracts have been signed to build the vast renewable energy precinct in Central Queensland, with construction to start immediately.

Under the plan, Squadron Energy, the energy division of Tattarang, has acquired Stage One and Two of the Clarke Creek wind, solar and battery farm.

The project could produce enough wind, solar and battery energy to power more than 660,000 homes, equivalent to 40 per cent of Queensland households, and will export lower cost electricity directly into the National Electricity Market. Due to its combination of solar, wind and battery technologies, it will help directly lower power prices for millions of Queensland households and businesses.

Forrest said the deal was a landmark moment for Australia’s green energy future.

“We have commenced construction of what will be the largest renewable energy precinct in the southern hemisphere, but I am delighted to say that we will not hold this record for long, with other renewable energy projects under development that will surpass our project in scale. We intend to bring on other projects which will be larger than today’s record,” he explained. “We are investing in Clarke Creek not only to harness the renewable power of the wind and sun to energise our homes, our factories and our cities, but as a critical step towards breaking our reliance on fossil fuels.

“Climate change is the single greatest threat to our existence, and we must meet this global challenge with tenacity and speed. This announcement is a signal that Australia is prepared to act with purpose to realise our 100 per cent, green, renewable, zero-emissions energy future.”

With grid connection, long-term supply agreements and all necessary state and federal approvals for Clarke Creek already in place, Squadron Energy said it will now accelerate the start of construction with Stage One anticipated to be fully operational in 2024. Stage Two is scheduled to come online in 2026.

Located 150 kilometres northwest of Rockhampton, Clarke Creek’s grid-scale generation capability will displace 2.7 million tonnes of carbon each year.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk welcomed the announcement.

“The Clarke Creek wind and solar farm will support regional jobs during construction,” she said. “Delivering such a huge renewable energy boost takes Queensland closer to achieving our targets of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.”

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