The French nuclear energy giant EDF has unveiled its first renewable energy project in Australia, a wind farm in Queensland that also has planning approval for battery storage.
The majority French government owned EDF, through its EDF Renewables subsidiary, has been quietly building a portfolio of wind, energy and battery storage projects in Australia as part of its global efforts to more than double its renewable energy capacity and pipeline from 28,000 megawatts now to 60,000 megawatts by 2030. That would be equivalent, in capacity terms, to the nuclear fleet it owns and operates in France.
The first of these Australian renewable projects has now been named – the 280MW Banana Range wind project in Queensland that it has purchased from Goldwind Australia and Lacour Energy.
The wind project is located in the Banana Shire, in central Queensland, about 20kms west of Biloela and 120kms south west of the port of Gladstone, with good wind resources (mostly at night) and close to the backbone of the major transmission line, and in the heart of the proposed central renewable energy zone.
The project also has planning approval for a big battery.
It that component goes ahead, it might be called the Big Banana Battery, which would resonate with those still shaking their heads at prime minister Scott Morrison’s unfortunate comparison of the Tesla big battery with the Big Banana several years ago.
EDF now intends to complete work on grid connections, with the hope it can begin construction of the wind project late next year. It currently plans to install up to 50 turbines to deliver the capacity of up to 280MW.
“We are very happy to take this important step in Australia with the Banana Range Wind Farm, which will be developed by EDF Renewables’ local team as part of a broader project pipeline,” said Patrick Charignon, the vice-president Asia-Pacific at EDF Renewables.
“Our projects will deliver competitive, reliable, renewable power and help drive the transition to a sustainable energy future”.
EDF Renewables currently has an installed capacity of 13.8GW, and a pipeline of that much again, mostly focused on wind and solar. Most of its activities have focused on Europe and north America, but it has also been branching out into Brazil, China, India, South Africa, Australia and the Middle East.
In Australia, it has a team of six based out of Sydney and led by the former head of development at AGL, Dave Johnson.
EDF spokesman said Australia is attractive because of the potential for large volumes in new wind and solar capacity, as well a storage. The spokesman would not reveal the location or other details of other projects in EDF’s Australian pipeline.
Lacour Energy says it had been working on the Banana Range project since 2016. “Banana Range Wind Farm aims to maximise the amount of local and regional involvement on the project, specifically this means employing local contractors and suppliers where possible,” Lacour director Mark Rayner said.
Lacour also originated the massive Clarke Creek wind and solar project in Queensland and the Kondinin wind and solar Farm in Western Australia, both of which are in the pre construction phase.