Shell draws plans for first solar farm in Australia

Oil and gas giant Royal Dutch Shell has announced on Friday to build its first utility-scale solar farm in Australia. The new announced project will be part of a global push into the power business and cleaner energy.

According to source, the 120 megawatt (MW) solar farm at Wandoan in the state of Queensland is expected to be completed in early 2021. Furthermore, Shell will be the anchor customer for power from the project. This is mainly attributed to its nearby QGC coal-seam gas operation that feeds its QCLNG plant on Curtis Island.

In wake of the announcement, Shell Australia Chairman Tony Nunan said, “We believe solar will play an increasing role in the global energy system, especially when partnered with a reliable energy source such as gas.”

The company has however denied to comment on how much the solar project would cost. Sources suggest, the project is mainly due to Shell’s acquisition last year of Australian industrial electricity retailer ERM Power and a stake in Australian solar developer ESCO Pacific.

The company has further announced to boost annual spending on its power strategy to between $2 billion and $3 billion by 2025.