Dugald River Solar Farm

Control System Integration

Background

APA’s Dugald River Solar Farm (aka Mica Creek Solar Farm) is an 88MW solar PV power project located approximately 7.5km south of Mount Isa, Queensland.

This solar farm is set to power Mount Isa’s North West Province and supports APA’s vision for a world-leading hybrid energy grid in Mount Isa, as well as the company’s aspirations to support the further increase in renewable energy penetration for the region.

The North West region is a significant part of Queensland’s resource-based economy and, with its endowment of new economy minerals, will play an important part in helping propel the boom in emerging technologies.

The Dugald River Solar Farm project was also envisaged to provide a boost to employment and the local economy, employing around 300 people during peak construction, and an ongoing workforce of between 1-5 people.

The solar farm was operational by the first quarter of 2023.

Two men wearing navy and yellow high vis walking toward some solar panels at Dugald River Solar Farm
Dugald River Solar Farm

Project Overview

The Dugald River Solar Farm project involved the implementation of a nominal 88 MW solar PV facility including all required mechanical, electrical, controls and civil/structural balancing of the plant.

Aerial view of Dugald River Solar Farm
Aerial view of Dugald River Solar Farm

Scope

Mipac was commissioned to integrate the solar farm with the existing power station distributed control system (DCS) as well as the master load shedding system (MLSS) for the North West Power Grid (NWPS).

Specifically, Mipac:

Timeline

The Dugald River Solar Farm project ran for 12 months, with key milestones including:

Dugald River Solar Farm project timeline

Project Challenges

Several challenges were encountered by the Mipac project team throughout this project. These challenges included:

Solar panels at Dugald River Solar Farm
Solar panels at Dugald River Solar Farm

Project Outcomes

The project was delivered on time and within budget. Specifically:

1

This was the first renewable energy project completed by Mipac. The project was successful and received great client feedback.

2

This project contributed to the switch to renewables in Australia – Dugald River Solar Farm is Australia’s biggest off-grid solar farm for off-grid electricity, covering an area 65 times greater than the playing surface of the Melbourne Cricket Ground

3

This project supported APA in their emissions reduction targets

3

Whilst this project was in a new industry for Mipac, which stretched the skills and expertise of our engineers, it proved that Mipac can successfully deliver a project of this size and in this industry.

Further reading

  • APA: Hybrid power plan tailored for industry – read more
  • Financial Review: Scaling up to meet the clean energy challenge – read more
  • APA Group’s first climate report – read more

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