Munna Creek Solar Farm Signs Telstra To Take Half Its Output

Solar panels powering 5G networks? That’ll get the cookers going. (Image: a random solar farm – not Munna Creek, as it’s not built yet)

Telstra has taken another step in its long-standing commitment to renewable energy with its fifth power purchase agreement (PPA), this time with a solar farm near Gympie in Queensland.

Announced yesterday, the PPA will see Telstra take half of the output of the $150 million 120MW Munna Creek Solar Farm currently under construction by Greek renewables firm Mytilineos.

The PV power station, situated approximately 40 kilometres northwest of Gympie, will comprise 375,000 solar panels on single-axis trackers to capture as much morning and afternoon sun as possible.

Telstra group executive for product and technology, Kim Krogh Andersen, said the carrier has so far “supported more than $1.1 billion worth of renewable energy projects” in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales.

“Once these projects are fully up and running, our share of their renewable energy output will be equivalent to more than 80 percent of our consumption, ” Andersen stated.

Telstra added that when complete, Munna Creek’s capacity will be equivalent to the power needs of 50,000 homes.

As we noted in 2017 when Telstra inked a deal for 70MW of capacity from a RES Group solar farm near Emerald in Queensland, the carrier’s association with solar power goes back a long way. It first started using solar panels to power remote facilities such as radio relay stations in 1974.

Ten years ago, I travelled with the Solar Challenge for its Northern Territory leg with British tech publication The Register, and had the chance to document how solar power had been deployed the length of Telstra’s microwave trunk along the old Overland Telegraph route.

In 2020, Telstra committed to reaching 100 percent renewables by 2025.

The National Broadband Network is also pursuing 100% renewables, with NBN Co last week upping its offtake from Wyalong Solar Farm to  90 GWh annually.

TPG Telecom, the second-largest ASX-listed telco in Australia, announced its own 100 percent renewables target in 2021 (pdf).

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