Construction is set to begin on a world-leading wind, solar, and battery storage hybrid project in north Queensland, after the company behind the 1200MW Kennedy Energy Park, Windlab, raised $50 million through an initial public offer.
In a statement on Thursday, Windlab said that the successful capital raising meant that financing arrangements for the first 60MW of the project were able to be finalised, and the project was expected to reach financial close and begin construction over the coming few months.
The capital raising marks a dual win for Windlab, with the Canberra-based CSIRO spin-off set to begin trading on the ASX next week, after closing its IPO “fully underwritten and oversubscribed” on Thursday.
The company floated 25 million shares at $2 each, the proceeds of which will be divided between existing investors, and phase one of the Kennedy Energy Park.
It also marks a second win for wind energy this week, which continues to woo private sector investors with its increasingly low cost of power. On the same day as Windlab’s revealed the success of its stock market float, AGL Energy managed to secure a PPA of below $60/MWh for the 453MW Coopers Gap Wind Farm, to be built in Queensland by 2019 after reaching financial close Thursday.
Kennedy Phase 1 is a 60MW wind, solar and storage hybrid plant located near Hughenden in Far North Queensland – a location chosen for its high and consistent wind resource using Windlab’s proprietary Windscape technology.
“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 in comments last year.
“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 allow Kennedy to provide a near base load generation profile.”
Phase one of the project – which is intended to prove the effectiveness of the wind and solar solution – will cost around $120 million.
This is hoped to garner support for a much larger deployment which could include more than 1,000MW of wind and solar of disptachable power to the energy-hungry north of the state..
“We are delighted with the level of interest and support we have received from investors,” said Windlab chairman and CEO Roger Price in a statement on Thursday.
“It seems clear that investors understand that renewable energy will quickly become a very significant component of our energy generation mix.”
Windlab said that the configuration, control and energy export characteristics of Kennedy would demonstrate many of the findings and recommendations of the recent Finkel Review, including dispatchable renewable capacity, improved network reliability, and fast frequency response and synthetic inertia.
Windlab identified the location in 2013 and along with its joint venture partner, Eurus Energy Holdings Corporation, has secured all necessary development approvals, and now financial close. Phase one of the project is expected to commence operations in late 2018.