Neoen wins approval for huge wind and battery plant near Cairns | RenewEconomy

Neoen wins approval for huge wind and battery plant near Cairns

Neoen wins approval for huge wind and battery storage project in north Queensland that could see largest turbines in Australia.

Hornsdale wind farm

French renewable energy developer Neoen has won approval for another major wind farm and battery storage project, this time near Cairns in far north Queensland.

The state government on Monday announced planning approval for the $300 million Kaban renewable energy hub, 80kms south west of Cairns, that will combine a 160MW wind farm with supporting infrastructure including battery storage.

It will be the third Neoen renewable energy hub combining renewables and storage to be established in Australia. Last December, it switched on the 100MW/129MWh Tesla big battery that sits next to the 309MW Hornsdale wind farm in South Australia.

It also has begun construction the Bulgana renewable energy hub in Victoria that will combine a 192MW wind farm and another Tesla battery, this time 20MW/34MWh to deliver 100 per cent renewable energy to the country’s biggest vegetable greenhouse.

Neoen is also looking to develop a renewable hydrogen hub in South Australia, not far from Hornsdale, that will combine solar power, wind power, storage and a hydrogen storage facility at Crystal Brook.

The Kaban renewable hub joins a growing list of projects in north Queensland that combine wind, solar and storage, including the Kennedy project (wind, solar and battery), Kidston (solar and pumped hydro), and Lakeland (solar and battery).

Neoen also won council planning approval for a solar project of up to 500MW and battery storage near Chinchilla in south-west Queensland in a project known as the Western Downs renewable energy hub.

See more on that solar and storage story here.

The Queensland government said that the planning approval allowed for 5.5MW wind turbines, which if they go ahead would represent by far the biggest wind turbines in Australia.

The previous biggest is 3.8MW currently being installed at the new Cooper’s Gap wind farm, the first large scale facility to be built in Queensland, and other wind farms.

However, Neoen said no final decision had been made on the turbine capacity – although a tender is now under way – or the size and nature of the battery storage. Given Neon’s track record to date, it would be surprising if the battery was not from Tesla.

“The Queensland Government welcomes private sector investment of this kind in support of the state’s renewable energy policy,” state planning minister Cameron Dick said in a statement. He said it would create 150 construction jobs.

State energy minister Anthony Lynham said the new wind farm would complement more than two dozen large-scale projects that were currently committed or under construction throughout Queensland.

“When complete, these projects will more than double Queensland’s renewable energy output and produce enough electricity to power close to one million homes,” Lynham said

“Our 50 per cent renewable energy generation target by 2030 has boosted the level of renewable energy investment, bringing significant projects to regions right across the state.

“This is yet another project to join our $4.3 billion pipeline of renewable energy projects underway or financially committed.”

Dick said the approval allowed for 29 turbines of up to 5.5MW with a maximum height of 240 metres.

“Neoen worked closely with the department to assess acoustic impacts on nearby houses, impacts on fauna, native vegetation clearing and traffic impacts,”Dick said in his statement.

“Conditions are recommended to be imposed on the decision that will mitigate and manage acoustic, flora and fauna and traffic impacts.

“The Queensland Government looks forward to bringing more job-creating, economy-boosting projects to the Far North.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

  1. Craig Allen 2 years ago

    Hey Neon. How about tipping a chunk of $ into a nature conservation charity up that way to mitigate any potential impacts on local flora and fauna.

    • GlennM 2 years ago

      Hey Craig,
      how about you ask the owners of Stanwell to do the same and see how you get along ?

      • Craig Allen 2 years ago

        Zero likelihood with any of the fossil heads. There might be a higher chance with a renewable company. But they’re an engineers and profit based like any other corporation, so not necessarily

    • dono 2 years ago

      Good point Craig, its not as if these guys were as gentle on the environment as say Adani or the frackers .

      • Gordon Bossley 2 years ago

        Some id10t on the Energy in Australia was squawking about how the wind turbine kill all those (and word for word, I quote): “insect eating bird like bats”. Plenty of genius out there, we’ve just got to harness it, right?

      • Craig Allen 2 years ago

        Don’t be ridiculous. Adani obviously has a radically higher impact on the environment. Renewables have an impact too. Far far lower but they should mitigate it none the less.

    • Ian 2 years ago

      While they’re at it perhaps ban cars and trucks to end the wildlife carnage they cause.
      ……and lobby the farmers to stop the rampant land clearing too

    • trackdaze 2 years ago

      It’s done so by ensuring a massive great open cut coal mine doesn’t go ahead instead.

  2. David leitch 2 years ago

    Its hard to see all this development in north Queensland without the “Powering North Queensland” transmission upgrades or something similar.

    • Steve Jordan 2 years ago

      David, surely there is a transmission problem from current projects when they come online. The bulk of the power has to be exported, either in real time or from storage later on; can the current transmission capacity from Townsville/Ayr south cope with the output from projects already under construction? What effect will any congestion have on the operating cash flow of these projects?

    • Jonathan Milford 2 years ago

      Have they applied to the NAIF for transmission upgrades?

    • RobertO 2 years ago

      Hi David leitch, was there some money in the last Qld budget to upgrade some of there power lines (about $375 million) and they are also the first government in Australia to upgrade power lines for RE? It may not be enough money but it help stop any new coal mines.

  3. Ken Carey 2 years ago

    The members of the Ravenshoe and Kaban community do not support this project as witnessed by the amount of signatures collected opposing this damaging project. The company as been less than truthful and has told the community one thing and told the media and politicians another. These turbines will be the largest in the world (currently 220m) and will be a blight on our landscape. The Environmental Study was conducted by table top with only two visits, one day in November 2017 and January 2018, to confirm their assessment despite a more comprehensive study was recently carried out and is at odds with their assessment. With the current State Planning guide showing regulations for 150m towers how can it possibly be feasible to use this for 240m towers? With a zone of 1500m that takes in a couple of landowners how can it be the same for a tower 50% higher?? Also where is the consultation with the local indigenous community?? They have been shunned and their interests were signed off by god knows who? Neoen have been, in my opinion, less than up front with my community leading to a lot of anger. As for the job creation I am calling shenanigans. There will be bugger all meaningful employment for my community with the workforce from the Mount Emerald Wind Farm likely to make up the bulk of the jobs. Oh, and the 240m height and battery was never mentioned in any community consultation only through the media. This fight is not over!! SAY NO TO NEOEN!

    • George Darroch 2 years ago

      Why are you opposed?

      • Nick Kemp 2 years ago

        NIMBY would be my guess

      • Ken Carey 2 years ago

        Nick Kemp I live in Ravenshoe and look at the first Australian Wind Farm through my bedroom window about 4Km’s away so NIMBY I ain’t!!
        The land that they have acquired for the wind farm was obtained through an absent landlord. The people who live closest to the development have not signed up for this. There was no mention of the height being 240m tall, the worlds biggest battery (Neoen is in negotiation about that) or the countless generators that will be required to power the 29 towers.
        Environmentally, I have an objection that the development will have to blast 60m into the ground for footings. The land is directly above the arterial basin and is at the head of the a tributary that branches into the Herbert and Millstream Rivers. Any spillage or disruption of this tributary will render the Far North unprepared for catastrophic contamination of the regions water supply.
        This area is under the jurisdiction of GBRMPA because of its’ sensitivity to run off affecting the Reef particularly at the mouths of the Tully, Herbert and Johnson Rivers. The locals can’t cut down a tree without permission but a 100% foreign owned company can do what they want? It doesn’t sit well with me.
        The local indigenous elders are extremely upset. The area for the development is sacred land to them. It is where the boys went to become men, secret women’s business and burial grounds are located. They are also in the High Court expecting a judgement on Native Title which has been ongoing for approx. 10 years. This judgement is imminent but Neoen has not talked to our elders but instead got their paperwork signed by some other indigenous citizen. Is that fair and above board?? I think not.
        The sum total of local employment when the project is finished is four (4), yes, four!! The project will involve the workforce from Mount Emerald Wind Farm which is almost completed. The workforce comprises of FIFO South Australians and Kiwi’s who are boarded on the development property. Unless a member of my community has worked on Wind Farm projects before then they will probably not be employed.
        There are many other ideological and emotional answers to the question but I have tried to stick to the facts, as I know them, and hope that you understand my position.

        • Peter Campbell 2 years ago

          “the countless generators that will be required to power the 29 towers” Huh?! The wind powers the generators, exactly one per tower. It is not the other way around! Generators powering the towers to make the wind!
          Would you rather have a coal mine or the fallout of pollution from a coal-fired power station?

          • Ken Carey 2 years ago

            Peter, I don’t mean to be rude but is that all you have to say about my reasons? Generators will be required to provide cooling for the ‘big’ battery, exactly the same as the Hornsdale Tesla battery. This takes up space and uses diesel!! Are you not worried about the other comments I made?
            No, I do not want a coal mine but I do want the Tully/Millstream hydro project to go ahead which will provide jobs for locals and be a reliable source of base load power, something that wind turbines will never be able to do.

          • Peter Campbell 2 years ago

            “Generators will be required to provide cooling for the ‘big’ battery, exactly the same as the Hornsdale Tesla battery.” Really? Why would you run generators on expensive diesel (for battery cooling) when you have a big battery and a wind farm and a high capacity connection to the grid? What I know of South Australian diesel generators is here: These are essentially unrelated to the functions of the Hornsdale wind generators or the battery.

          • RobertO 2 years ago

            Hi Ken, I have some concerns that you have stated things that are not quite correct but I have no proof that you are correct and that I am wrong.
            Is diesel the primary source of cooling power? (I would suspect that the answer is no it secondary or could even be higher up the chain as in no Diesel cooling).
            When making the base of a TWG if you strike good solid rock you drill bolt holes, not blast holes,simply because it cheaper to bolt it in then blast it in.
            RE is likely to provide more empolyment that coal mining will but saying that only FIFO are the only one’s that will get work is a strech given that most earthworks will be done by local companies and most of the time they are locals (as in not from your direct community but your district (and yes some people whom follow work are not FIFO’s and housing worker on site has always been practiced in Australia, about 200 years worth).
            Did you ask about the community funds? What is that worth? Where will it be spent, and whom controls it. Neoen are not known for their generosity (you had to know where to look to find it with Hornsdale Wind Farm). Will the absentee landlord provide more empolyement if he/she/company has more income to spend.

Comments are closed.

Get up to 3 quotes from pre-vetted solar (and battery) installers.