Wind and solar energy park proposed for Hughenden

Hughenden is set to be the site of Australia’s first hybrid wind and solar energy park.

Windlab Ltd, a company that originally planned to feed electricity generated by wind turbines into the failed CopperString power project in 2012, is back with a new $140 million power proposal.

Kennedy Energy Park project director Geoff Burns said Windlab, in joint partnership with Japanese company Eurus Energy Holdings Corporation, planned to build Australia’s first combined wind and solar “energy park” at a site 17km southeast of Hughenden.

Mr Burns said construction would start about October-November 2016 and would involve the assembly of six turbines each spanning 136m.

He said these would be the largest wind turbines ever assembled in Australia.

There would also be 64,000 solar panels spread over 80ha.

Mr Burns said the park would generate enough electricity to supply more than 25,000 homes. He said the ­energy park would create 50 jobs during construction.

Flinders Shire Mayor Greg Jones said Hughenden was the ideal place to build a renewable energy park.

“We’ve got the wind and we’ve got the sunshine. We are backing this project. The council is very supportive of renewable energy initiatives and we are keen to work with Windlab and Eurus to get this project near our town,” he said.

Mr Burns said the hybrid energy farm would generate between 40 and 60 megawatts of power. He said completion of the first stage south of Hughenden would open the door to a second stage hybrid energy project in the north.

He said stage two would dwarf stage one and be capable of producing 1200MW of ­renewable energy.

“This will provide enough renewable energy to meet much of Queensland’s contribution to the national 2020 Renewable Energy Target,” Mr Burns said.

Windlab CEO Roger Price said the southern site was predominantly windy through the afternoon and into the evening. He said Hughenden had the highest solar irradiance in Australia that was close to an existing grid system.

“At Hughenden there is plenty of sunshine. It is this plentiful sunshine and wind which provides us with a resource profile that gives us almost constant energy production,” he said.

In 2012 Windlab considered feeding renewable energy into a proposed 1000km Townsville to Mount Isa power line known as CopperString. It was abandoned after major end-users such as Xstrata in Mount Isa snubbed it in favour of a gas-fired power station.

Windlab intends feeding energy from the Kennedy project south of Hughenden into the Ergon line that runs along the Flinders Highway.

Note: Original story was published on townsvillebulletin.com.au