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Japanese coal and oil goliaths to assemble big solar farm in Queensland

Japanese coal miner Sojitz and its oil organization partner Eneos are to assemble a 204MW solar farm in the Western Downs region of Queensland in a first step to seek green hydrogen opportunities in Australia.

The Queensland government declared the investment on Thursday, around the same day it uncovered it would make a $2 billion renewables and hydrogen fund to help new projects and jobs, and its target of 50% renewables by 2030.

The solar farm will be worked at Edenvale, along the Condamine to Kogan Road, around 20 km south of Chinchilla, and in an area with various other solar projects previously working or under construction.

“This is a show of international confidence in the strength of our economic recovery plan and Queensland’s renewable energy future,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in a statement.

Sojitz is one of Japan’s significant trading organizations and works in three coal mines in Queensland, including the close by Gregory Crinium coking coal mine, which will buy some of the new solar farm’s output.

Eneos is Japan’s biggest oil organization yet, in addition, has an interest in renewables and hydrogen, and in 2018 successfully sent out green hydrogen from the Queensland University of Technology’s Redlands Research Facility, east of Brisbane, to Japan. It was the first export of its sort.

Eneos said it was its first solar investment in Australia and was being made mainly to build up a CO2-free hydrogen supply chain in Australia. It is looking to both green hydrogen and ammonia products and plans to spend more than $1.5 billion on such investments over the next few years.

The Edenvale solar farm will sell 70% of its output to the Mojo electricity retailer, while some of the remaining 30% will be provided to Gregory Crinum mine.

Construction begins this month, with a finish expected in mid-2023. Gransolar has the agreement to assemble the project, its seventh solar farm contract in Australia.

It said around 450 workers will be included during construction and in this manner, with operation and maintenance. It said a group of 16 indigenous laborers will be trained to complete the operations and maintenance work.

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