Vestas, Tesla, Windlab, & Australian CEFC Partner On World’s First Utility-Scale Hybrid Wind, Solar, & Storage Project

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A world first renewable energy project has taken its first steps in Australia, with big-name companies Vestas, Tesla, and Windlab backed by Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation partnering on a $160 million, 60 MW hybrid wind, solar, and energy storage project.

A flurry of announcements were published Thursday confirming the development of a 60 MW (megawatt) hybrid wind, solar, and energy storage by Australia’s international wind energy company Windlab. The AUD$160 million Kennedy Energy Park set to be built in central north Queensland as a joint venture between Windlab and Eurus Energy Holdings Corporation of Japan.

Kennedy Energy Park will be the first wind, solar, and storage hybrid generator connected to Australia’s national electricity network via a single connection point. It also serves as an industry-leading project demonstrating the complementary nature of the three technologies and proving their ability to work together. Vestas — who will provide the wind turbines for the project — describes the project as a “world first” of its kind.

The Kennedy Energy Park will consist of 43.2 MW worth of wind, made up of twelve Vestas V136, 3.6MW turbines; 15 MW worth of AC, single-axis tracking solar; and a 4 MWh Li Ion battery storage provided by Tesla.

Upon completion, Kennedy will be able to generate approximately 210,000 MWh of electricity per annum, which is the equivalent of enough electricity to supply over 35,000 average Australian homes.

“We believe Kennedy Energy Park will demonstrate how effectively wind, solar and storage can be combined to provide low cost, reliable and clean energy for Australia’s future”, said Roger Price, Windlab’s Executive Chairman and CEO. “The broader adoption of projects like Kennedy can address the recommendations of the Finkel review and ensure that Australia can more than meet its Paris Commitments while putting downward pressure on energy prices”.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to join Windlab on this project, which places Vestas at the forefront of sustainable energy solutions and is a testament to how we are providing solutions that make renewable energy more cost-competitive and grid compliant,” said Johnny Thomsen, Senior Vice President, Product Management for Vestas. “With 35 years of experience in meeting complex grid requirements and developing advanced power plant controllers, Vestas has the foundation to also lead the way in hybrid solutions.”

“Hybrid solutions combining wind, solar and storage hold a huge potential for Australia,” added Clive Turton, President of Vestas Asia Pacific. “Kennedy Phase I has the potential to leverage Australia’s abundant renewable energy resources and be a giant leap forward for the country in reaping those resources while ensuring a consistent and reliable electricity supply. Kennedy shows that Vestas, together with visionary partners like Windlab, can provide the solutions.”

Meanwhile, Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) similarly announced on Thursday that it will invest AUD$94 million into the project.

“This is a landmark project for Queensland and Australia, creating a new model for renewable energy that brings together the benefits of wind, solar and battery storage to overcome intermittency and improve reliability.” said CEFC Wind Sector Lead Andrew Gardner.

“Financing three separate technologies on one site was a complex undertaking that had not previously been achieved in Australia. As the sole debt financier for this project, our goal was to demonstrate the bankability of large-scale, integrated hybrid renewable energy projects for the future. We expect such projects to become an increasingly important part of Australia’s electricity system, with complementary battery storage addressing the intermittency of wind and solar generation to support grid stability.”

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Joshua S Hill

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