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Solar project to power far north Queensland

Solar project to power far north Queensland

The first battery and solar storage project in Australia is due to launch, with a multimillion-dollar grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency now secured.

Firms: Norton Rose Fulbright (Conergy); DibbsBarker (Conergy); Mills Oakley (Australian Renewable Energy Agency); Clifford Chance (Nord/LB);

Deal:  Development and financing arrangements for the Lakeland Solar & Storage Project have been finalised.

Value: More than $17.4 million

Area: Banking & finance; energy

Key players: Regional general counsel for Conergy, Maree Myerscough, worked with a team of NRF lawyers on the deal.  

The NRF team advising on the deal was led by global head of energy Simon Currie. Partners Emanuel Confos and Noni Shannon, special counsel Chris Baker, senior associates Steven Choi, Juliette King, Jenida Satem and Kelly Davies, associate Thomas Bramah and graduate Ben Foster assisted.

Deal significance:

A landmark project will supply solar power to far north Queensland, with development and financing arrangements now settled.

Conergy has secured a $17.4 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to build and operate the Lakeland Solar & Storage Project. Nord/LB is also providing debt financing for the project, located at the fringe of Ergon’s grid.

Construction of the solar and storage project, Australia’s first, will begin near the town of Lakeland in Queensland. The final complex will comprise a 10.8MW (AC) solar photovoltaic (PV) plant with 1.4MW/5.3MWh of lithium-ion battery storage.

The plant will combine big battery storage and big solar to generate power for use at night and during peak power usage times.

Lead lawyer for the deal, NRF global head of energy Simon Currie, said his team was “proud” to have acted for one of the world’s largest solar companies. He suggested plants such as the one to be built near Lakeland would cater to future power needs.

“Solar PV+ is the future and the Lakeland project comprises solar PV+ battery in an on-grid environment,” Mr Currie said.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht highlighted the benefit of integrating batteries with solar farms, adding that the global shift to renewable energy is underway.

“We know that battery storage will play a critical role in our future energy systems. The benefit of adding batteries to solar farms is simple: they store energy from the sun for use at peak times and overnight. They can also smooth solar energy output on cloudy days,” Mr Frischknecht said. 

“The global energy transition is happening faster than many anticipated and Australia is well placed to be a key player. Our growing expertise in integrating renewables and batteries could readily translate into economic opportunities including export dollars in world markets,” he said.

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