A world-leading project that will combine solar PV, wind energy and battery storage, and which could ultimately be one of the biggest power stations in Queensland, has received financial support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
ARENA announced on Friday that the Kennedy Energy Park – being built by Australia’s Windlab and Japan’s Eurus Energy near Hughenden in north Queensland – will receive $18 million in “recoupable” grants to help fund the $120 million first stage of the project.
That first stage will comprise 19.2MW of solar PV, 21.6MW of wind and 2MW/4MWh of battery storage. But over time, the project may expand to 600MW of solar PV and 600MW of wind energy, and more battery storage, and provide the equivalent of “baseload” power to north Queensland, enough to meet one fifth of Australia’s renewable energy target.
It would also account for a sizeable piece of the new wind and solar projects required to meet the Queensland government’s own 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030, which was outlined earlier this week.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht described the project as “trailblazing” because of its ability to provide to dispatch reliable, affordable power and round-the-clock renewable energy.
“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.”
He compared the facility to large coal-fired plants in Queensland like Tarong or Stanwell. Indeed, Some coalition politicians have pushed for a new coal fired power station in the area, but as we discussed earlier, this project is likely to remove any idea that a new coal generator would be a good idea.
Numerous project in Australia are now combining wind and solar, and will also look at some form of storage. Solar and wind are being combined at Gullen Range and White Rock in NSW, while DP Energy is proposing a major wind and solar project near Port Augusta in South Australia.
In addition, Conergy is proposing a solar and storage project in north Queensland, Lyon Solar is talking of a similar project in South Australia and there are numerous wind, solar and storage projects in off-grid locations such as King Island and Coober Pedy.
In addition, Genex, which also received funding from ARENA for a 50MW solar plant in north Queensland, is looking at a combined solar and pumped hydro storage project, and Kennedy is also looking at combining pumped hydro.
Frischknecht said “big Kennedy” – the combination of 600MW of solar and 600MW of wind – 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,” he said.
Windlab CEO Roger Price said the Kennedy site enjoys one of the best and largest wind resources in Australia and with one of the best solar resources. “They are highly consistent and complementary,” Price said in a statement.
“Coupled with storage, Kennedy will demonstrate how Australia can exploit its wealth of natural resources to deliver sustainable, competitive energy supply for the future.”
Eurus President and CEO Hideyuki Inazumi said Kennedy Energy Park was a cutting-edge utility-scale renewable project utilising wind, solar PV and battery storage in the context of Australia, but also in global markets.
“We are excited about this opportunity and appreciate ARENA’s support for the successful deployment of the project,” Mr Inazumi said.
The project is scheduled for completion in 2018.