26 October 2015: Construction of a $140 million combined wind and solar energy park is expected to begin within 12 months, following agreement between local renewable energy company Windlab Limited (Windlab) 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.
It will create more than 50 local jobs during construction phase, providing a major economic boost for North Queensland’s Hughenden community, around 300 kilometres from Townsville.
The first stage of the project will involve construction of six massive turbines spanning 136 metres in diameter — the largest ever seen in Australia. In tandem, 64,000 solar panels spread over 80Ha will generate sufficient energy to supply more than 25,000 Queensland homes with zero carbon emissions.
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.
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.
“In combination, these natural resources can provide a net capacity factor approaching 70%, better than “base load” coal utilisation in Queensland,” he said.
“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.”
The Kennedy Park deal follows on from another deal struck between Windlab and Eurus earlier this year, with the parties committing to, and beginning construction on the Coonooer Bridge Wind Farm in Victoria.
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”.
Windlab was this year a recipient of the Clean Energy Council’s Community Engagement Award.
Mr Price said community support was critical to the success of the Kennedy Energy Park plan.
Flinders Shire mayor, Mr Greg Jones, said the council was backing the project.
“The Council is very supportive of renewable energy initiatives and we are keen to continue to work with Windlab and Eurus to see this project built in the Shire of Flinders,” he said.
Construction of the Kennedy Park project is expected to begin after June next year.