Construction begins at Kennedy wind, solar and battery storage hub

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Construction begins on first 60MW of proposed 1200MW Kennedy Energy Park, the world-leading wind, solar, and battery storage project in north Queensland.

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kennedy wind solarConstruction has begun on the first 60MW of a proposed 1200MW Kennedy Energy Park, with the ceremonial turning of the sod on Monday at the site of the world-leading wind, solar, and battery storage project in north Queensland.

The $160 million first stage of the grid-connected hybrid renewables project, which is being developed by Windlab and Japan’s Eurus Energy, will initially combine 43.2MW of wind, 15MW of single axis tracking solar PV, and a 2MW/4MWh lithium-ion battery storage system supplied by US giant Tesla.

The first phase of the project is expected to be completed and feeding energy into the grid by late 2018, with Queensland government owned CS Energy contracted to purchase the renewable electricity under a 10-year power purchase agreement.

The second phase of the overall project, dubbed Big Kennedy, is expected to provide up to 1,200MW of wind energy and is expected to play a key role in balancing Queensland’s rapidly growing big solar capacity.

Commencement of construction of phase one follows a new round of debt finance from the CEFC ($94 million) in October, alongside an $18 million refundable grant from ARENA.

Windlab – which is a Canberra-based CSIRO spin-off – also managed to raise $50 million through a highly successful initial public offer in August. The now ASX-listed company floated 25 million shares at $2 each, the proceeds of which were divided between existing investors, and phase one of the Kennedy project.

“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 Windlab CEO Roger Price in a statement on Monday.

“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.

Price said he expected that the sort of hybrid configuration being modelled by Kennedy would be increasingly used, particularly in remote locations and emerging markets, as the world shifted 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,” he said.

Price said the Hughenden site had an excellent solar irradiation pattern and exceptional complementary wind resources, which tended to blow at night.

He said the pairing of wind and solar resources would be vital to the achievement of Queensland’s state government target of 50% renewable energy by 2030.

“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,” Price said.

CS Energy chairman Jim Soorley said the start of construction marked a great day for the region, and reinforced its reputation as the renewable energy capital of of the state.

“CS Energy is proud of its role in Kennedy Energy Park through a long-term agreement to purchase the electricity output and a proportion of the large scale generation certificates from the planned hybrid generation facility,” he said.

“The agreement supports the CS Energy strategy to facilitate renewable energy development in Queensland while continuing to provide reliable baseload electricity through its existing portfolio of power stations.

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7 Comments
  1. john 2 years ago

    Just one of many that will be built some like Kidson which may be a model i feel, as we move forward the next hurdle, is to get the grid back and allow the transmission of power North South East West and vice versa.
    The more distributed RE and storage plants built the more resilient the energy supply will become.
    This may not be a large build but when you have 100’s like this it adds up just like the over 1.6 million household PV installations together they have an effect.

  2. RobertO 2 years ago

    Hi All, Did you see the price CS Energy are paying?

    • john 2 years ago

      It does not matter what some Retailer pays the fact is the underlying wholesale price.
      Having a lot of retailers only means they have a lot of overhead and you will pay more.
      The so called competitive price of retail is a total furphy it is shall we say rubbish.
      1 energy is produced
      2 cost to connect about $10

      There is zero reason to have any other rip off retailers in the system.

      You are being ripped off sad to say.

      • Chris Drongers 2 years ago

        That might be the seed of an idea – pitch an equity only renewable energy plant (Kennedy would be great). Equity holders get pro-rata of the power from the plant according to how much they put in, pay extra for maintenance/transmission/distribution and get the actual power for ‘free’ as they have already paid upfront to build the plant. Minimal if any profit taking by the employees maintaining the system. Run it in to the ground and after 30 years rip it out and hit up the next generation of buyers for the next install.

        • MaxG 2 years ago

          Too progressive for most punters 🙂

          • Chris Drongers 2 years ago

            Looking back in the tombs I found this story about Go Energy Group that tried something along the lines I suggested. https://reneweconomy.com.au/solar-specialist-retailer-go-energy-put-into-voluntary-administration-72858/
            They came unstuck and went into voluntary administration (days after announcing an expansion of their solar panels business to include storage) in 2016 as a result of (apparently) unhedged exposure to soaring wholesale electricity prices (their business was to install and operate PV at a commercial customers property at no cost but then sell the commercial customer the power generated, supplemented by grid power when the sun wasn’t shining, at a discount to the grid price. It seems Go Energy ran into problems because of exposure to unhedged electricity prices.
            Still, Power Ledger could try something similar through its ‘sparx’ applications but this time letting other players pay for the panels, and for integrating grid and renewable power to a customer.
            Power Ledger tokens (similar to Etherium and BitCoin) tripled in price in days after being issued and are now at about eight times issue price and sinking slowly. Still, early days as the first Sparx business has not floated yet.

      • RobertO 2 years ago

        Hi John, You missed the point! CS Energy is a wholesaler QLD Gov owned and selling on the market place. There is no prices and so they could be buying this solar for $25 to $50 per MWh and getting some of the LGC (currently about $80 each) for free. The current wholesale prices in Qld average about $60 – $70 minimium so whom is taking customers for a ride (CS Energy is).

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