World first for Queensland

Posted by Design & Construct on 29-Aug-2016 18:34:55

In Construction

The world's first project to combine big solar and big battery storage in far north Queensland is set to supply solar power after sundown and during peak usage times. The $42.5 million project scheduled for completion in April 2017 is receiving $17.4 million funding by The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) for Conergy to build and operate the project.

Founded in 1998, Conergy is one of the world's largest pioneers of solar power, specialising in the design, finance, build and operation of high-performance solar systems for utility-scale power and businesses. The company has established subsidiaries in 15 countries and delivered Australia's first 1Megawat (MW) project in the Northern Territory.

“We know that battery storage will play a critical role in our future energy systems. The benefit of adding batteries to solar farms is simple; they store energy from the sun for use at peak times and overnight. They can also smooth solar energy output on cloudy days,” said ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht.

The plant will generate and store enough renewable energy to power more than 3000 homes and create up to 60 jobs in the Lakeland region during construction. Ivor Frischknecht also commented that the transition into global energy is happening faster than expected in Australia and the country's growing expertise in integrating renewables and batteries could readily translate into economic opportunities worldwide.

An island in the desert?

Solar farms with storage can be especially useful in remote areas within Australia. The project is aiming to be the first in the world to test a concept known as ‘islanding' from the main electricity grid. The local town of Lakeland will be powered solely by solar and batteries for several hours during these tests. Connected to the Ergon Energy network, testing of the batteries will commence over a two-year period, culminating in testing ‘island mode' during the evening peak.

ARENA, along with Conergy, has set up a steering group to build a knowledge base with BHP Billiton, Ergon Energy and Origin Energy. The project will provide invaluable insight into solar storage and remote operations.

BHP Billiton Dr Graham Winkelman said, “ beyond contributing to global greenhouse gas emissions reductions, solar and storage projects may also assist BHP Billiton in the future to reduce its operating emissions while helping to support energy reliability at some of our more remote operations.”

Australia's employers are now looking for candidates who have experience of working within the renewable energy industry. If you work within the green industry and are looking for the next big project or job opportunity, please contact one of our consultants to discuss your sustainability career today.

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Australia. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency. (2016). Retrieved 24 August, 2016 from http://arena.gov.au/media/world-first-combine-big-solar-storage/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ARENA%20news%20World%20first%20to%20combine%20big%20solar%20and%20storage&utm_content=ARENA%20news%20World%20first%20to%20combine%20big%20solar%20and%20storage+CID_c2223bfb983d1daa0d32de65d76ba269&utm_source=enews&utm_term=Read%20more
 Conergy. (2016). Retrieved 24 August, 2016 from http://www.conergy.com.au/about-conergy