Construction of a A$140 million (US$100 million) combined wind and solar energy park is expected to begin within 12 months, following agreement between local renewable energy company Windlab Limited and a major Japanese partner.
Windlab will partner with the Eurus Energy Holdings Corporation in a 50/50 joint venture to build the Kennedy Energy Park plant, in what is the first large scale hybrid solar/wind plant constructed in Australia.
Kennedy Energy Park will be located on farm land approximately 17 km southeast of the township of Hughenden and 290 km southwest of Townsville. It will connect into the Cape River to Hughenden 66 kV transmission line running adjacent to the project site.
Commencing with the “proof-of-concept” Kennedy Energy Park project of 40 MW solar plus 40 MW wind, the ultimate plan is to construct about 1,300 MW of renewable energy generation in the region,
Construction of the Kennedy Park project is expected to begin after June next year.
Windlab Chief Executive Officer Mr Roger Price said the Kennedy Energy Park was an ideal location and had been selected for its “world class” solar irradiance and wind energy profile. He said:
“In combination, these natural resources can provide a net capacity factor approaching 70%, better than “base load” coal utilisation in Queensland. This particular site has been carefully mapped and we know it is predominantly windy through the afternoon and into the evening, and obviously experiences sunlight during daylight hours. This resource profile ensures almost constant energy production.
“Coupled with state of the art grid storage Kennedy will be able to match North Queensland’s’ current energy demand profile more than 80% of the time.”
Eurus Energy Holdings Corporation President and CEO Mr Hideyuki Inazumi said:
“We are excited about another opportunity to work alongside Windlab, a company that has been achieving excellence in wind farm development. Our participation in the development of Kennedy also demonstrates our continuing commitment to the Australian renewable energy market”.
At the moment, more than 90% of Queensland’s electricity needs are generated by fossil fuels. It is expected that successful completion of first stage development will pre-empt a major scale up in the project’s second stage, which will see 1200 MW of renewable energy generation. This will provide enough renewable energy to meet much of Queensland’s contribution to the national 2020 Renewable Energy Target.