Solar, wind & battery storage power plant in QLD gets ARENA funding

A project combining solar PV, wind energy and battery storage, and which could be one of the biggest power stations in Queensland, has received financial backing from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

The Kennedy Energy Park – being built by Australia’s Windlab and Japan’s Eurus Energy near Hughenden in north Queensland – will receive $18 million in “recoupable” ARENA grants to help fund the $120 million first stage of the project, the Agency said.

That first stage will comprise 19.2MW of solar PV, 21.6MW of wind and 2MW/4MWh of battery storage. Over time, the project may expand to 600MW of solar PV and 600MW of wind energy, and more battery storage, and provide the equivalent of “baseload” power to north Queensland, enough to meet one-fifth of Australia’s renewable energy target.

It would also account for a sizeable piece of the new wind and solar projects required to meet the Queensland government’s own 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030, which was outlined last week.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht described the project as “trailblazing” because of its ability to provide to dispatch reliable, affordable power and round-the-clock renewable energy.

“Kennedy Energy Park will be the first time a combined large-scale solar, wind and battery installation has connected to Australia’s national electricity market,” he said.

“Wind will generate power throughout the day and night, while solar ramps up during peak demand times when the sun is shining. Battery storage will smooth out power delivery from both sources, dispatching it when it’s needed most and increasing overall reliability.”

Numerous project in Australia are now combining wind and solar, and will also look at some form of storage. Solar and wind are being combined at Gullen Range and White Rock in NSW, while DP Energy is proposing a major wind and solar project near Port Augusta in South Australia.

Top image via Kennedy Energy Park website

© 2016 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

Giles Parkinson