A list of 10 proposed projects have been selected for ‘Renewables 400’, a state government push to deploy 400MW of renewable energy generation capacity with 100MW of energy storage in Queensland, Australia.
The tender is part of the AU$1.16 billion (US$0.81 billion) Powering Queensland Plan, which the government of state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk rolled out to help stabilise electricity prices, reach 50% renewable energy by 2030 and diversify energy sources, drive economic growth and support local jobs.
Expressions of interest have been rolling in since the ‘Renewables 400’ was launched in late 2017 by Palasczcuk to “huge interest”, as Energy-Storage.news reported at the time. A reverse auction has been held to narrow down a field of more than 100 applications to just 10. From here, the shortlisted projects will submit bids to government-owned corporation CleanCo, which will manage the bidding process to “provide the next wave of large-scale renewable energy’,” the state government said.
The 10 selected projects include two standalone wind farms, five solar-plus-storage projects and three others which integrate more than one generation source.
CleanCo will become Queensland’s third licensed electricity generator to be publicly-owned when it commences trading at the end of October this year. As well as the 10 ‘Renewable 400’ projects, CleanCo will have the 570MW Wivenhoe Pumped Storage Station and a 385MW gas power station, Swanbank E, in its portfolio when it kicks off. Queensland’s minister for natural resources, mines and energy, Dr Anthony Lynham, said the addition of the new entrant would put downward pressure on electricity prices through increased competition.
“Preliminary analysis indicates CleanCo should reduce wholesale electricity prices on average by around $7 per megawatt hour, which is expected to translate to an estimated $70 per annum saving for the average Queensland household,” Lynham said. A statement published by Lynham’s office also provided the capacity and expected cost of each project.
Kane Thornton, CEO of Australia’s national Clean Energy Finance Council, told PV Tech that in 2018, Queensland was the leading Australian state for large-scale solar development, while the state has so far mostly seen independent power producers and large industrial operations such as gold mines deploy large batteries for stationary energy storage applications.