A project combining solar, wind and battery storage will be built near Hughenden in North Queensland, delivering renewable energy on demand.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has committed up to $18 million in recoupable grant funding for a Windlab and Eurus Energy joint venture to build the first $120 million phase of Kennedy Energy Park, consisting of 19.2MW solar photovoltaic, 21.6MW wind and 2MW/4MWh battery storage.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the project would provide reliable and affordable power and set the state on the pathway towards around-the-clock renewable energy.

“Kennedy Energy Park will be the first time a combined large-scale solar, wind and battery installation has connected to Australia’s national electricity market,” Frischknecht said.

“Wind will generate power throughout the day and night, while solar ramps up during peak demand times when the sun is shining. Battery storage will smooth out power delivery from both sources, dispatching it when it’s needed most and increasing overall reliability.”

The plant will build on two Australia-first projects backed by ARENA, he said: the Gullen Range solar farm, co-located with an existing wind farm near Canberra, and the Lakeland solar and storage project in far North Queensland.

The park will be connected to the Ergon Energy network.

“Ergon will use it as an opportunity to better understand how renewables can enhance a weak part of the network and how different renewable energy technologies can work together to serve the dynamic power requirements at a grid connection point,” Frischknecht said.

The project is a pilot for the next phase, Big Kennedy, which is planned to include up to 600MW of solar PV and 600MW of wind, with the potential for multiple storage options such as large-scale battery and regional pumped hydro storage.

Frischknecht said the proposed scale of Big Kennedy is comparable to large coal-fired plants in Queensland such as Tarong or Stanwell.

“Big Kennedy could meet most of Northern Australia’s growing demand for electricity and provide as much as 20% of new build capacity for Australia’s 2020 renewable energy target,” he said.

If the first phase of Kennedy Energy Park is integrated into the network it will provide a strong business case for the next phase, he said.

Windlab CEO Roger Price said Windlab was very pleased ARENA supported the project. “Kennedy is almost unique in that it enjoys one of the best and largest wind resources in Australia, co-located with one of the best solar resources. They are highly consistent and complementary,” Price said.

Eurus president and CEO Hideyuki Inazumi said Kennedy Energy Park was a cutting-edge utility-scale renewable project utilising wind, solar PV and battery storage in the context of Australia, but also in global markets.

“We are excited about this opportunity and appreciate ARENA’s support for the successful deployment of the project,” he said.

The project is scheduled for completion in 2018.