Windlab and Vestas tie-up for landmark hybrid power plant

Windlab and Vestas tie-up for landmark hybrid power plant”

Australia's Windlab is managing the $160 million project at the Kennedy Energy Park hybrid renewable energy site in North Queensland.

Australian renewables developer Windlab and Danish OEM Vestas have kicked off plans to build what is claimed to be the world's first utility-scale, on-grid wind, solar and battery energy storage project.

"This is a landmark project for Queensland and Australia, creating a new model for renewable energy that brings together the benefits of wind, solar and battery storage to overcome intermittency and improve reliability", CEFC wind sector lead Andrew Gardner said. "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".

It will use batteries supplied by USA electric carmaker Tesla Inc and is expected to generate enough power to supply more than 35,000 average Australian homes.

4 MWh of batteries is actually a relatively small project for Tesla, especially when considering the massive new 100 MW/129 MWh Powerpack system that they are now installing in Australia.

Windlab chairman and CEO Roger Price the project "will demonstrate the importance of matching wind and solar generation to provide more predictable, reliable and low cost renewable energy".

"Kennedy enjoys one of the best and largest wind resources in Australia, alongside one of the best solar sites".

Project equity will be provided equally by developers Windlab and Eurus Energy Holdings, and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation will provide $93.5m of debt finance on a long-tenured, non-recourse basis, according to the statement. As the sole debt financier for this project, our goal was to demonstrate the bankability of large-scale, integrated hybrid renewable energy projects for the future.

The cost of renewable energy has dropped significantly in recent years with solar leading the way, while Tesla is leading the way in battery storage.

Kennedy Energy Park will be the first wind, solar, and storage hybrid generator connected to Australia's national electricity network via a single connection point.

Vestas product management senior vice president Johnny Thomsen said: "We are grateful for the opportunity to join Windlab on this project".

But the combination of solar and wind is the interesting part here. The project is expected to deliver lifetime emissions abatement of nearly three million tCO2-e.

In order to support further hybrid projects in Australia, Windlab, with Vestas, will share the knowledge and experience from building and operating Kennedy Phase I through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Windlab has secured a 10-year agreement with Queensland government owned CS Energy to purchase the renewable energy and some of the large-scale generation certificates (LGCs) produced by the project. Vestas' control system will manage the power harvesting and storage.

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