Clean energy investor Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) confirmed it has acquired the suite of projects that make up the Bowen Renewable Energy Hub, a giga-scale integrated energy generation and storage project being developed near Mackay in central Queensland.
The project, which is to be renamed the Capricornia Energy Hub, will integrate pumped hydro projects totalling 1.4 GW, with more than 1 GW of solar, a 500 MW wind farm, battery energy storage and a hydrogen electrolyser to support export scale hydrogen production.
The original developers, Renewable Energy Partners and Bowen River Utilities, said the first stage of the pumped hydro project has been designed to deliver 750 MW and 16 hours of storage (12,000 MWh). Stage 2 is expected to deliver an additional 12,000 MWh of storage.
CIP Australia Vice President Matthew Stuchbery said the energy hub aligns with the firm’s strategy to pursue multiple energy storage technologies to support Australia’s switch to renewables.
“We are absolutely investing in things like battery storage, but we’re of the view that a portfolio approach even for storage is going to be required to meet Australia’s needs,” he said.
“Batteries are a technology that are fit for purpose for shorter time periods, but there is no other commercial technology available that operates in the same time period to the same scale as pumped hydro does.”
The original developers had indicated the first stage of the pumped hydro project was expected to be online by 2028.
Stuchbery said CIP would re-evaluate the timeline but would ensure the project remained on track to deliver large-scale storage by the end of the decade.
“I think we would be targeting a final investment decision in the middle of this decade,” he said.
CIP, a major player in developing renewable energy projects in Europe, said it will now look to advance the approvals process and geotechnical investigations and continue to work with the Queensland government-owned utility CS Energy which earlier this year signed a deal with the previous project proponents for a potential power purchase agreement.
The investment adds to CIP’s rapidly growing pipeline of renewable energy projects in Australia, which includes a stake in the 2.2 GW Star of the South wind project being developed in the Bass Strait off Victoria’s Gippsland coast.
CIP has also partnered with Hydrogen Renewables Australia to develop the 5 GW Murchison Renewable Hydrogen Project near Kalbarri in Western Australia.
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