The Queensland government’s reverse auction for 400MW of large-scale renewable energy generation and storage looks set to attract a record amount of tenders, with more than 200 businesses registering interest in the scheme ahead of its formal opening to expressions of interest later this week.
The reverse auction, part of the Labor Palaszczuk government’s $1.16 billion Powering Queensland Plan, will help the state meet its target of sourcing 50 per cent of its electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030.
The tender will see companies bid for both renewable generation and storage projects – most of which will be situated in the regions.
Acting energy minister Curtis Pitt said the industry had until 5pm on Monday to register their interest, before an expression of interest process opened on Thursday 31 August.
“There has already been significant interest in our Renewables 400 program, with 201 businesses registered so far including project developers, investors and local small businesses,” Pitt said.
“Under this new initiative, we will support companies wanting to build the next generation of large-scale renewable and energy storage projects in Queensland.”
The response, while huge, is perhaps not surprising, considering the number of big solar and wind projects already crowding the development pipeline in the Sunshine State.
According to Reneweconomy data, there are 17 large scale solar projects alone that are under construction in the state, or about to begin construction, and a further 40 large scale solar projects that have gained planning approval or are in the process of doing so.
And there are several significant wind projects also in the pipeline or about to begin construction, along with some pumped hydro and biomass proposals.
The level of interest in storage projects also promises to be strong, considering the huge responses to the recent energy storage tenders held in Victoria and South Australia.
In April, a call for expressions of interest in a 20MW/80MWh battery storage array to be built in western Victoria, attracted some 110 proposals, more than two-thirds of which were considered credible.
And earlier in that same month, the first stage of the South Australian government’s ground breaking battery storage tender garnered more than 90 proposals.
“We all agree that energy storage technology will play an important role in the transition to higher levels of renewable energy and we are keen to see the benefits of this new investment flow into the Queensland economy,” said Pitt
“Not only are we encouraging investment in Queensland, but we’re also supporting diversity in renewable generation supply which is an important for our future energy security.”
Pitt said successful bidders in the auction would be awarded financial contracts with the government for some or all of the electricity they generate, thus providing the long-term certainty projcets need to secure finance.
“The criteria to select successful bidders will include not only price but also support for local businesses and jobs and with a view to creating a diverse mix of renewable energy generation and storage to support a secure, reliable and affordable supply of electricity into the future.”
Expressions of Interest for the Renewables 400MW process open on Thursday 31 August. For more information on the or to submit an EOI visit www.dews.qld.gov.au