Australia's first solar farm and battery project plugs in

28 February 2018

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Australia’s first-large scale solar and storage project has been switched on in far north Queensland in a move that will help us develop our understanding of how renewables can provide reliable energy when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.

Origin is buying all the energy produced by Lakeland Solar & Storage and has formed a knowledge-sharing partnership with Lakeland’s owner Conergy to understand more about battery storage and how it can help with the intermittent nature of renewable energy.

Located on the Mulligan Highway 240 kilometres north-west of Cairns, Lakeland has more than 40,000 solar panels across 45 hectares of land and will supply more than 3,000 homes and businesses with clean, emissions-free electricity.

At 10.8 MW, Lakeland Solar & Storage farm may be small, but it punches above its weight with a 5.3 MWh battery storage facility that can dispatch electricity back to the grid at night or when it is cloudy or raining.

The project’s edge of grid location will also provide valuable insights into “islanding”, where the town of Lakeland will disconnect from the grid and rely just on solar and battery for all its energy for hours at a time. Knowing more about islanding and battery storage will help improve reliability and energy security, particularly for remote areas that rely on long-distance transmission networks for their electricity.

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At 10.8 MW, Lakeland Solar & Storage farm may be small, but it punches above its weight with a 5.3 MWh battery storage facility.

Up until now, renewable power plants could only dispatch energy as they generated it, in other words, when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining. Since solar and wind power isn’t generated at a constant rate and is weather dependant, connecting a battery to a renewable power station means that wind or solar energy can be stored and quickly dispatched to the grid when it’s needed when or when there’s no generation.

This year, Origin expects 350 MW of new solar energy to come online into its portfolio, with the Bungala 1, Daydream and Clare solar farms all nearing completion.

We want to lead Australia’s transition to lower emissions and have been working towards a low carbon future both on a large utility scale and in the home for many years.

By 2020, we’re aiming for more than 25 per cent of our generation to come from renewable energy, up from just over 10 per cent today and by 2032, we have committed to halve our Scope 1 and 2 emissions in line with the Paris 2°C goal, by exiting coal, increasing reliance on gas and adding more renewables to our portfolio.