Report warns of looming bottleneck for CQ renewables

  • Sep 12, 2019
  • Gladstone Observer

A RENEWABLE energy bottleneck is looming for Central and North Queensland, as the size of proposed renewable energy projects exceed the available transmission capacity, new analysis has found.

Consultancy Rystad Energy said many of the projects could fall by the wayside if Queensland's transmission network was not strengthened.

Several wind and solar projects are proposed for the Gladstone region, including Renew Estate's Rodd's Bay solar farm, Acciona Energy's solar project at Aldoga and the recently announced $250-350 million wind farm at Biloela.

Rystad's analysis found eight gigawatts of large-scale solar, wind and electricity storage projects proposed for north of Gladstone would battle to access less than 300 megawatts of available transmission capacity.

"The majority of these projects will be stranded in the short term, unable to connect, as network capacity available for non-synchronous generation in the region is less than 300 megawatts, the result of system strength limitations," senior analyst David Dixon said.

It identified the Central West region, inland from Gladstone and Rockhampton, as the worst affected, with almost 4GW of projects yet to reach financial close and 100MW of grid capacity available for non-synchronous power plants.

Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said despite the findings, the Queensland Government was still on track to achieve its target of 50 per cent renewables by 2030.

"We fully recognise that the renewable energy revolution underway in Queensland is bringing challenges to the transmission system," he said.

Dr Lynham said during the past two years Queensland's government-owned transmission system operator Powerlink had connected 13 renewable energy projects with the capacity to generate more than 1700MW.

He said Powerlink worked closely with the Austraian Energy Market Operator to progress new connections, without impacting the security of the power system.

"System strength is a key focus, and when a new project is identified as having a system strength gap that needs to be addressed, Powerlink works closely with the proponent to assist them in delivering a strength remediation plan that allows the project to proceed as efficiently as possible."

Mr Dixon said the main challenge for the network was it needed to be strengthened to increase transmission capacity.

He said by solving the network limitations the region could unlock capacity for up to 700MW, equivalent to $900 million in renewable energy investment.

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