Cape York solar plans up-scaled

Cook Shire Council in Far North Queensland has welcomed plans to build a second solar farm in the Cape York region.

Construction on the solar farm, based in Lakeland about 150km northeast of Cairns, is slated to begin next year.

The farm will be four times the size of the Conergy project that is currently under construction in the small town.

Lyon Solar announced the plans at the Cooktown and Cape York Business Conference last month.

Lyon sold the smaller Lakeland Solar and Storage Project to Conergy earlier this year, and had equity already raised for the new project, explained partner David Green.

“While we have on-sold the original solar plus battery project in Cook Shire, we’ve taken the lessons we learnt during the three years of developing that project and are deploying this proven technology at a much larger scale,” Mr Green said.

The grid-connected project will include an 80-mega watt solar photovoltaic array and a minimum of 20 mega watts of battery storage, making it one of the largest in Queensland.

Cook Shire Mayor Peter Scott said a second major solar project on the heels of Lyon’s first showed confidence in investing in the Shire.
“Cook Shire Council has been very supportive of these projects, and they also tie in with the values we have here, for an environmentally and culturally considerate future for our communities, and increased energy security for future sustainable growth,” Cr Scott said.

Mr Green said the significant size of the project dealt with the number one issue facing the Australian energy sector: how to integrate more renewable energy without destabilising the electricity network.

“Battery storage really is the missing piece of the puzzle in Australia’s clean energy future, and, for that matter, anywhere seeking to incorporate large amounts of renewables into the energy mix.

“Ultimately, with this breakthrough there is no limit to the amount of renewable projects that can be connected to the electricity grid in Australia or anywhere else in the future.”

Construction of the project is expected to start in April 2017, with completion in early 2018.