Windlab to build world-leading solar-wind-storage hybrid project in Qld | RenewEconomy

Windlab to build world-leading solar-wind-storage hybrid project in Qld

The era of solar and wind storage is already here, with Windlab to begin construction of world-leading wind-solar-battery storage complex in north Queensland.


Australian renewable energy developer Windlab says it expects to begin construction on a world leading wind-solar-battery storage hybrid project in north Queensland early this year after winning development approval from the local council.

The first stage of the Kennedy energy park near Hughenden will feature 30MW of wind capacity, 20MW of solar single axis tracking solar PV capacity and 2MW/4MWh of lithium ion battery storage capacity.

wind farm windlab

It will cost around $120 million and will be the first stage of an expected $1 billion project that will deliver the equivalent of base load power in the energy-hungry north of the state.

The announcement follows proposals by another Australian company to build the world’s large solar plus storage facility in South Australia, and comes amid heightened interest in storage capacity as the mount of renewable energy continues to grow, and as the rising cost of gas makes gas-fired peaking plants uneconomic in the face of falling costs of storage.

Windlab says the project will be the one of the first grid connected wind, solar and storage hybrids in the world. Development approval was decided at the Flinders’ Shire Council meeting on July 21, having received all required feedback from state and federal authorities earlier in the month.

CEO Roger Price says the company hopes to secure financing later this year, but already has on board the Japanese company Eurus Energy to provide a substantial part of the equity component of the project.

“This is a first of its kind project. Hughenden will lead the nation in the deployment of innovative near base load renewable energy generation that will help the Australian industry transition more successfully with less volatility to a sustainable clean energy future,” Price said.

Windlab plans to use this first stage of the project to prove the effectiveness of the solution and garner support for a much large deployment which could include more than 1,000MW of wind and solar north of Hughenden.

“Hughenden is almost unique in that it enjoys one of the best wind resources in Australia, co-located with one of the best solar resource,” Windlab project director Geoff Burns said.

“The (wind and solar) resources are highly consistent and complementary; when the sun sets the wind ramps up and continues through to the morning after the sun rises. It is this unique characteristic that will allowmKennedy to provide a near base load generation profile.”

Eurus’ CEO Hideyuki Inazumi said the company had developed and invested in a number of wind and solar projects globally and was proud to be a partner of this project.

Kennedy Energy Park will be operational early in 2018. The 50MW hybrid facility will generate enough electricity for more than 30,000 homes; more energy than required by Hughenden and surrounds. The balance will be exported to the national electricity network via Charters Towers.

“Kennedy is located 20-km south east of Hughenden, just off the Flinders Highway,” the company said in a statement.

“It will consist of 9 to 12 turbines depending on final selection and up to 200,000 solar panels. The solar panels will be single axis tracking to maximise potential from the western setting sun. 2MW of Li ion storage equivalent in size to 4 shipping containers will be also located on site.”

Eurus’ CEO Hideyuki Inazumi said the company had developed and invested in a number of wind and solar projects globally and was proud to be a partner of this project.



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  1. john 4 years ago

    All i can say is why go so low in ambition with this project?
    Ramp it up i bet they do very shortly

    • Charlie 4 years ago

      Did you mean the capacity of the first stage? I reckon it a suitable, probably already an ambitious size for pioneering.

  2. Brunel 4 years ago

    The battery should be installed at the point of use to avoid transmission losses.

    The batteries do not have to be located where the wind farm is.

    • Analitik 4 years ago

      If the batteries can smooth the output from the fluctuations from wind variations, clouds etc, they will reduce the transmission losses as these are greatest when power flow is at its greatest.

      But 2 MW power for 2 hours won’t balance 30 MW of turbines and 20 MW of PV – it just doesn’t add up. The batteries will be able to provide a small amount of help with voltage and frequency control but that’s it.

  3. nor_he 4 years ago

    Why are lithium batteries being used instead of vanadium batteries?

    • Analitik 4 years ago

      The vanadium redox battery at King Island failed and they found it was too expensive to repair so it was replaced it with a bank of lead acid batteries.

      Do you have an example of a successful long term large scale storage using vanadium batteries? I would be interested in the details (capacity/output etc)

      • Vincent Algar 4 years ago

        Hi Analitk. I suggest you review the current state of Vanadium Flow Batteries today rather than referring only to the very early attempts in the 1980’s and 90’s. The “failure ” there was also due to a control system issue and a lack of understanding of stack behavior. The technology and power control systems are now in its 3rd generation and 2MW/8MWh systems are being deployed everywhere by multiple providers. Gildemeister, Sumitomo, UET, Rongke Power all good keywords to search for long term and stable deployments of these systems and ideal for a alternative solution. You can model these very effectively and with a wind resource they perform very well. This would be a great project to apply them to today. Costs would also be very competitive compared to LiIon at that scale, I would suggest your could get twice the MWh for the same price as the LiIon today.

      • Miles Harding 4 years ago

        I would have thought the electrode, membrane and seal problems* that plagued earlier installations would have been overcome by now. Apparently not so easy to solve.

        Despite its numerous problems, PbSO4 Lead Acid still has some application:
        When pricing off-grid batteries recently, I noted the wet-cell (need to add water occasionally) type is more-or-less competitive with LiFePO4 batteries we can actually buy today. It may be a better choice when battery mangement (or lack of) and reserve capacity of the necessarily much larger PbSO4 battery.

        * Sulphuric acid is the solvent for the vanadium electrolyte. I remember the cell stacks leaking a fair bit such that catch trays were needed to contain the acid pool.

  4. Robert Comerford 4 years ago

    Good to see another project happening, but pumped hydro must be a better option for storage at this level of power.

    • Ian 4 years ago

      Agreed and lots of rain up that way but is it worth wrecking another river system?

  5. Geoff 4 years ago

    And you need to remember base load does not need the added cost/complexity of storage. By design the Grid is on demand 24/7 surplus of supply over demand.
    Hard to beat one would think.

  6. Cooma Doug 4 years ago

    Did you guys see the new Friednberger on Late Line?
    Seemed to be accepting things way better then the denialist ideals.
    Turnbull has waved the red rug at the right wing deniers.
    The news will be interesting.
    Maybe Mal has been in the bunker all this time til now. Not sure I understand why.

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