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Shell to Build First Big Solar Plant in Move to Power Production

James Thornhill

(Bloomberg) -- Royal Dutch Shell Plc will build its first large-scale solar farm as part of its plan to expand into power generation.

Shell, which has set itself a goal to become the world’s top electricity producer by 2030, expects to complete the plant in Queensland, Australia, early next year. The facility will indirectly supply the company’s QGC liquefied natural gas export facility, reducing that project’s carbon footprint.

“Solar is one of the building blocks of Shell’s power strategy,” said Greg Joiner, Vice-President for Shell Energy in Australia. “We are increasingly incorporating renewable energy into customer offers, as we have done here for QGC.”

The Hague-based company last year announced a deal to buy ERM Power Ltd., the second-largest electricity retailer to commercial and industry customers in Australia. It also bought a 49% stake in Australian solar developer ESCO Pacific.

The 400,000-panel, 120-megawatt solar farm’s location at Wandoan, around 400 kilometers (250 miles) west of Brisbane, was selected “due to its natural advantages for solar generation,” as well as its close proximity to existing power infrastructure and the QCG facility, Shell said.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Thornhill in Sydney at jthornhill3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Ramsey Al-Rikabi at ralrikabi@bloomberg.net, Rob Verdonck

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