Leading Australian energy infrastructure business APA Group has announced a staged plan to build an 88 megawatt (MW) solar farm at Mica Creek near Mount Isa in Queensland to support its customers in the North West Minerals Province.
APA has reached final investment decision to build the 44MW stage one with an investment of over $80 million, supported by a 15-year solar offtake agreement with leading zinc miner MMG Dugald River, to supply renewable energy.
“The Mica Creek solar farm will deliver lower emissions power underpinned by the reliability of APA’s gas-fired power, while reducing the average cost and emissions of power across Mount Isa,” APA chief executive officer and managing director Rob Wheals said.
“This solar agreement is the result of us working closely with MMG to ensure we meet their needs as a valued customer, so they can in turn continue to support a growing and leading zinc operation in Queensland.”
The first stage of the solar farm is expected to be operational by the first quarter of 2023, while APA is in advanced discussions with a number of customers to commit to the development of stage two.
“As always, we will continue to work with our customers to support their requirements, consistent with APA’s purpose to strengthen communities through responsible energy,” Wheals said.
“APA has been working with Economic Development Queensland in relation to a lease to support the solar farm, and is very pleased to work with the Queensland Government to support the ongoing development of the North West Minerals Province.”
APA owns and operates the Diamantina power station complex and entered a 32-year lease agreement with the Queensland Government to locate the Mica Creek solar farm nearby.
APA’s solar offtake agreement will reduce the average delivered cost of power for MMG, supporting customers with affordable, renewable electricity.