The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has committed $18 million to a Hughenden project combining solar, wind and battery storage.
The recoupable grant funding will help Windlab and Eurus Energy build the first $120 million phase of Kennedy Energy Park, consisting of 19.2 MW (AC) solar photovoltaic (PV), 21.6 MW wind and 2 MW/4 MWh battery storage.
ARENA chief executive officer Ivor Frischknecht said the trailblazing project would provide reliable and affordable power and highlight a pathway towards around-the-clock renewable energy.
The project is scheduled for completion in 2018.
“Kennedy Energy Park will be the first time a combined large-scale solar, wind and battery installation has connected to Australia’s national electricity market,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“Wind will generate power throughout the day and night, while solar ramps up during peak demand times when the sun is shining. Battery storage will smooth out power delivery from both sources, dispatching it when it’s needed most and increasing overall reliability.
“This will build on two Australian first projects ARENA has recently supported: the Gullen Range solar farm, co-located with an existing wind farm near Canberra, and the Lakeland solar and storage project in far North Queensland.
“The park will be connected to the Ergon Energy network and add to the growing portfolio of ARENA-supported fringe-of-grid projects in Queensland.”
The project is a pilot for the next phase, ‘Big Kennedy’, which is planned to include up to 600 MW of solar PV and 600 MW of wind and the potential for multiple storage options such as large-scale battery and regional pumped hydro storage.
“The proposed scale of Big Kennedy is comparable to large coal-fired plants in Queensland like Tarong or Stanwell,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“Big Kennedy could meet most of Northern Australia’s growing demand for electricity and provide as much as 20 per cent of new build capacity for Australia’s 2020 renewable energy target.
“If Windlab and Eurus can successfully integrate the first phase of Kennedy Energy Park into the network, it will provide a strong business case and greatly assist with securing capital, debt finance and approvals for the next phase.”
Windlab chief executive officer Roger Price said Windlab was very pleased ARENA had recognised the innovative nature and importance of the project to Australian’s renewable energy future.
“We are delighted to receive ARENA’s support. Kennedy is almost unique in that it enjoys one of the best and largest wind resources in Australia, co-located with one of the best solar resources. Furthermore, they are highly consistent and complementary,” Mr Price said.
“Coupled with storage, Kennedy will demonstrate how Australia can exploit its wealth of natural resources to deliver sustainable, competitive energy supply for the future.”
Queensland Energy Minister Mark Bailey said the project was expected to create more than 50 direct jobs during construction.
“The independent Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s announcement to provide funding to develop the Kennedy Energy Park is great news for the Hughenden region,” Mr Bailey said.
The investment would bolster energy security from Julia Creek to Charters Towers while providing a significant boost to the local economy during its construction phase, he said.
“This, along with the Lakeland 10.8 MW Solar 5.4 MW/h battery project in the state’s far north, and important research being undertaken by Energy Queensland, and our universities, places Queensland at the cutting edge of developing innovative large-scale battery storage solutions – that will underpin the next generation of renewable energy technologies,” Mr Bailey said.
Earlier this week the ‘Credible Pathways to a 50 per cent Renewable Energy Target for Queensland – Draft Report’ was released by an independent Renewable Energy Expert Panel.
“The draft report projects a 50 per cent target would have a cost neutral impact on Queensland’s electricity consumers while delivering $6.7 billion in investment and over 6000 jobs per year, mainly in regional Queensland,” Mr Bailey said.
“Queensland has an abundance of renewable energy sources which are ripe for investment, and this $120 million project (Kennedy Energy Park) forms part of the multi-billion investment in a renewable energy economy which is anticipated by the independent expert panel.”
Visit http://kennedyenergypark.com.au/ for more details about the project.