Funding for solar project in Queensland

Solar power final

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) today announced $18 million in funding for the $160 million Kennedy Park wind, solar and battery project, based in North Queensland.

The 60.5 megawatt (MW) project will consist of 43.2 MW of wind, 15 MW of solar PV, a 2 MW lithium ion battery and a synchronous condenser.

On behalf of the Australian Government, ARENA will provide $18 million recoupable grant for the project, a joint venture of Australian renewable energy developer Windlab and Eurus Energy.

In an ASX announcement today, Windlab announced the project had reached financial close.  The project will also receive up to $93 million in debt finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

ARENA’s funding was originally committed in July 2016, but the project has subsequently been expanded in scope to overcome connection challenges.

Kennedy Park will now include nearly double the wind power originally intended through 12 3.6MW turbines.

On completion, the combined wind and solar farm will generate 210,000 megawatt hours of electricity per year – enough to power more than 35,000 average Australian homes.

The project will also improve stability and reliability of the grid for communities in North Queensland, through enabling technologies to control voltage and frequency.

The project is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2018.

This project will also lay the foundations for a planned much larger second phase, called ‘Big Kennedy’, a $2 billion 1200MW solar and wind farm, due to commence in 2019.

The project will demonstrate fully integrated wind, solar and batteries storage and will generate electricity closer to the point of use, relieving demand on long transmission lines from the southern parts of Queensland.

ARENA Chief Executive Officer Ivor Frischknecht said Kennedy Energy Park will be the first time a combined large scale solar, wind and battery farm will be connected to the grid.

“Kennedy enjoys one of the best and largest wind resources in Australia, alongside one of the best solar sites. By integrating wind, solar and batteries, this will be able to provide reliable and dispatchable electricity to North Queensland,” Frischknecht said.

“This project will now also help improve the stability and reliability of the network in North Queensland,” he said. “ARENA is excited to be funding such an ambitious project in what will be a significant step towards Queensland generating half its electricity from renewable energy.”

“We believe Kennedy Energy Park will demonstrate how effectively wind, solar and storage can be combined to provide low cost, reliable and clean energy for Australia’s future,” said Roger Price, Windlabs executive chairman and CEO.

“The broader adoption of projects like Kennedy can address the recommendations of the Finkel review and ensure that Australia can more than meet its Paris Commitments while putting downward pressure on energy prices,” Price said.