Construction has begun on the first phase of Kennedy Energy Park, Australia’s first utility-scale wind, solar, and storage hybrid project which, once all phases are complete, could boast a capacity of up to 1.2 gigawatts.
The Kennedy Energy Park, located near Hughenden in North West Queensland, was first mentioned back in October of 2015 and has progressed through several stages before the ceremonial turning of the first sod of soil this week on Monday. The $160 million project, being developed by Windlab, will be Australia’s first utility-scale wind, solar, and storage hybrid generator connected to the grid.
In October of 2017, the project took a big step forward when big-name companies Vestas, Tesla, and Windlab backed by Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation, went all-in on the first phase of the project, which will consist of 43.2 MW (megawatts) worth of wind, made up of twelve Vestas V136, 3.6 MW turbines; 15 MW worth of AC, single-axis tracking solar made up of 56,000 panels; and a 4 MWh Li Ion battery storage provided by Tesla.
Windlab predicts that construction of the first phase of the project will take around 12 months to construct, and will be finished and feeding electricity into the grid by late 2018.
“This is an industry first that will produce and feed clean renewable energy into the grid with much greater consistency and reliability from a combination of solar, wind and battery storage,” said Roger Price, Windlab’s Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “It’s also an important and valuable demonstration of how renewable energy can be used to cost-effectively meet most network demand for power — day and night. We believe that this style of hybrid configuration will be increasingly used, particularly in remote locations and emerging markets, as the world transitions to a clean energy future. We are excited about the opportunities that the expertise gained from this pioneering project will present as we seek to replicate it across selected locations in Australia and Southern Africa.”
Looking beyond this first phase, however, Roger Price expects that “Big Kennedy” will serve not just to be a successful demonstration of what renewable energy can do, but will act as an economic windfall for the region.
“This is the first stage of what is likely to become a multibillion-dollar investment program in and around Hughenden as this region becomes Australia’s leading renewable energy location with the completion of Queensland’s Clean Energy Hub, with “Big Kennedy” at its centre,” he explained.
“Big Kennedy is the second phase of the overall project and will provide up to 1,200 megawatts of wind energy and is a central component of the Queensland Government’s Powering North Queensland Plan. Big Kennedy will be critical in balancing Queensland’s solar generation as the state moves towards fifty percent renewable energy capacity.”