Australia has moved forward on three separate wind projects in recent days, including the country’s largest large-scale wind/solar hybrid farm.
Over the past few days, three separate announcements have been made about wind projects moving forward with development — good news for a country which has for so long seen renewable energy be the primary focus of disinformation and propaganda at the highest political levels.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) announced on Tuesday that Australia’s largest large-scale solar farm to be co-located with wind turbines is set to be built near Canberra, Australia’s capital. The 10 MW solar PV plant will be built adjacent to the existing 165.5 MW Gullen Range Wind Farm. ARENA hopes that the new project will serve as an example and push for other such projects to be developed around the country.
“Co-location provides more continuous energy generation, as wind farms tend to generate more energy overnight whilst solar only generates during the day,” said Ivor Frischknecht, ARENA CEO. “Gullen Wind Farm generates more power in winter and the new solar farm will generate more in summer.”
“Wind farm owners across Australia could benefit from adding solar plants to their existing sites. Developers can save money on grid connection, approvals and site development costs by co-locating wind and solar plants, whilst also reducing environmental impacts.”
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency will provide $9.9 million in financing for the project, which it says will require at least $26 million in total. However, according to the New Gullen Range Wind Farm Pty Ltd (NGRWF), “potential co-location savings for the Gullen Range Solar Farm could be as high as $6 million, representing a 20% drop in total project cost,” said Mr Frischknecht.
“There is huge potential to adopt this approach at other wind farms. An ARENA-supported study found there’s an estimated 1000 MW of potential opportunities to add solar PV alongside existing wind farms — enough to power 700,000 homes. We expect this to more than double by 2020 in line with Australia’s renewable energy target.”
Announced on Wednesday by global wind energy development company Windlab, construction of the first stage of the 50 MW Kennedy Energy Park in Hughenden, Queensland, will begin in early 2017, having just received development approval. The Kennedy Energy Park is a hybrid combination of 30 MW of wind energy, 20 MW of solar, and 2 MWh of Lithium-ion battery storage.
Development approval was granted at the Flinders’ Shire Council meeting on July 21, and upon completion will consist of 9 to 12 wind turbines, and up to 200,000 solar panels. The project is expected to cost more than $120 million, and will create more than 50 direct jobs, and numerous indirect jobs in Hughenden throughout construction.
“Kennedy Energy Park has ticked all the boxes and we are excited that the project will now go ahead,” said Jane McNamara, Flinders Shire Mayor. “We look forward to leading the way with renewable energy in North Queensland and are very pleased about the jobs and investment the project will bring to our shire.”
“Hughenden is almost unique in that it enjoys one of the best wind resources in Australia, co-located with one of the best solar resources,” said Geoff Burns, Project Director for Windlab. “Furthermore, they are highly consistent and complementary; when the sun sets the wind ramps up and continues through to the morning after the sun rises. It is this unique characteristic that will allow Kennedy to provide a near base load generation profile.”
Hornsdale Stage 2
Finally, Siemens announced on Tuesday that it had been awarded the contract to supply, install, and commission 32 3.2 MW wind turbines at the Hornsdale Stage 2 onshore wind farm in South Australia. Stage 2 is an addition to Hornsdale Stage 1 wind farm, which Siemens signed a contract for in August 2015.
Hornsdale Stage 2 will be completed with a capacity of 100 MW by June 2017, adding to the 100 MW of Stage 1. There is also a Stage 3 in pre-development planning.
“Hornsdale Stage 2 is another great example of the global strength of France and Germany working together to provide clean energy for 70,000 Australian homes and new employment, training and investment opportunities in South Australia and the ACT,” said Xavier Barbaro, CEO of Neoen, the developer behind Hornsdale. “With almost 40% of the country’s clean energy produced by wind farms, Australia’s renewable energy footprint is increasing in size and global relevance — making it a great place to invest and do business.” The CO2 emissions saved by the Hornsdale wind farm upon completion will be equivalent to taking either 290,000 cars off the road or planting 1.9 million trees.
“We are delighted that Neoen entrusted Siemens to also supply the second stage of the Hornsdale wind project with our proven direct drive wind turbines,” said Thomas Richterich, CEO Onshore at the Siemens Wind Power and Renewables Division. “Hornsdale Stage 2 is a good example of collaborative customer partnership combined with the best technology for the benefit of society, the economy and the environment.”
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