Queensland awards A$1.2bn solar plant

Areva Solar and Wind Prospect are the preferred bidders to develop a 250-megawatt solar thermal gas hybrid power plant. The developers are in talks with equity investors and European and Asian banks to raise A$675m to close the project later this year.

Australia’s Queensland government has named a consortium of Areva Solar and Wind Prospect as the preferred bidder for a A$1.2 billion (€884 million, $1.3 billion) solar power plant in Chinchilla.

Solar Dawn, as the project is known, is a solar thermal gas hybrid power plant described by the government as one of the world’s largest renewable energy projects, generating 250 megawatts.

“Solar Dawn will be the largest power station in the world using this type of solar thermal technology and be among the biggest solar plants worldwide – making Queensland a truly solar state,” Queensland Premier Anna Bligh commented in a statement.

The project will receive A$450 million from the Australian federal government and A$75 million from the Queensland government. That leaves the private partner to come up with the remaining A$675 million in debt and equity.

RBS Infrastructure Advisory is advising the consortium on the project financing and is in talks with European and Asian banks with a view to reaching financial close on the project by the end of this year. The consortium is also in talks with a group of equity investors.

Solar Dawn is due to start construction next year and should be up and running in 2015, the Queensland government said in a statement.