Windlab Will Build Hybrid Wind/Solar/Storage Project In Queensland

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Originally published on RenewEconomy.

Australian renewable energy developer Windlab says it expects to begin construction on a world leading wind-solar-battery storage hybrid project in north Queensland early this year after winning development approval from the local council.

The first stage of the Kennedy energy park near Hughenden will feature 30MW of wind capacity, 20MW of solar single axis tracking solar PV capacity and 2MW/4MWh of lithium ion battery storage capacity.

It will cost around $120 million and will be the first stage of an expected $1 billion project that will deliver the equivalent of base load power in the energy-hungry north of the state.

The announcement follows proposals by another Australian company to build the world’s large solar plus storage facility in South Australia, and comes amid heightened interest in storage capacity as the mount of renewable energy continues to grow, and as the rising cost of gas makes gas-fired peaking plants uneconomic in the face of falling costs of storage.

Windlab says the project will be the one of the first grid connected wind, solar and storage hybrids in the world. Development approval was decided at the Flinders’ Shire Council meeting on July 21, having received all required feedback from state and federal authorities earlier in the month.

CEO Roger Price says the company hopes to secure financing later this year, but already has on board the Japanese company Eurus Energy to provide a substantial part of the equity component of the project.

“This is a first of its kind project. Hughenden will lead the nation in the deployment of innovative near base load renewable energy generation that will help the Australian industry transition more successfully with less volatility to a sustainable clean energy future,” Price said.

Windlab plans to use this first stage of the project to prove the effectiveness of the solution and garner support for a much large deployment which could include more than 1,000MW of wind and solar north of Hughenden.

“Hughenden is almost unique in that it enjoys one of the best wind resources in Australia, co-located with one of the best solar resource,” Windlab project director Geoff Burns said.

“The (wind and solar) resources 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 allowmKennedy to provide a near base load generation profile.”

Eurus’ CEO Hideyuki Inazumi said the company had developed and invested in a number of wind and solar projects globally and was proud to be a partner of this project.

Kennedy Energy Park will be operational early in 2018. The 50MW hybrid facility will generate enough electricity for more than 30,000 homes; more energy than required by Hughenden and surrounds. The balance will be exported to the national electricity network via Charters Towers.

“Kennedy is located 20-km south east of Hughenden, just off the Flinders Highway,” the company said in a statement.

“It will consist of 9 to 12 turbines depending on final selection and up to 200,000 solar panels. The solar panels will be single axis tracking to maximise potential from the western setting sun. 2MW of Li ion storage equivalent in size to 4 shipping containers will be also located on site.”

Eurus’ CEO Hideyuki Inazumi said the company had developed and invested in a number of wind and solar projects globally and was proud to be a partner of this project.

Reprinted with permission.


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Giles Parkinson

is the founding editor of RenewEconomy.com.au, an Australian-based website that provides news and analysis on cleantech, carbon, and climate issues. Giles is based in Sydney and is watching the (slow, but quickening) transformation of Australia's energy grid with great interest.

Giles Parkinson has 596 posts and counting. See all posts by Giles Parkinson