Shell's new solar farm to help power a natural gas plant in Australia

Key Points
  • Shell Australia describes the facility as its "first large-scale solar farm".
  • Queensland chosen as the project's location because of reliable sunshine.
Paul Ellis | AFP | Getty Images

Shell Australia is set to construct and operate a solar farm made up of around 400,000 photovoltaic panels in the state of Queensland.

In an announcement Friday, Shell Australia described the facility as its "first large-scale solar farm" and said it would have a capacity of 120 megawatts.

Work on the project is set to finish in 2021, with Shell Australia saying up to 200 new jobs will be created during the construction phase.

Queensland was chosen as the project's location because it had "some of the most reliable sunshine in the world", the company added. The solar farm will help to power operations at the QGC onshore natural gas project and cut carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 300,000 tonnes a year.

"We believe solar will play an increasing role in the global energy system, especially when partnered with a reliable energy source such as gas," Tony Nunan, the chairman of Shell Australia, said in a statement.

While Shell is indeed turning to renewable sources such as solar, the overall business is still heavily reliant on fossil fuels. In 2018 Royal Dutch Shell produced 3.7 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, while it sold 71 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas.

At the end of January, Reuters reported that the entrance to the company's headquarters in the Netherlands had been blocked by protestors chanting "keep it in the ground".

Demonstrations such as this reflect the current debate – and increasing anxiety – over what many describe as "the climate emergency" and how best to stop it.

At the start of the COP25 climate summit last December, the UN Secretary General warned that "the point of no-return is no longer over the horizon."

Antonio Guterres emphasized that his message was "one of hope, not of despair" but sought to highlight the urgency of the problems faced by the planet.

"We simply have to stop digging and drilling and take advantage of the vast possibilities offered by renewable energy and nature-based solutions," he said.