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.
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.”