Octopus plans giant Queensland energy park with 400 MWh battery, 175 MW solar acquisition

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Octopus Investments Australia, a subsidiary of UK-based Octopus Group, appears to have acquired the battery and solar projects from German-headquartered developer Juwi Renewable Energy.

The Ardandra storage and solar site, as it is referred to, sits adjacent to Octopus’ existing Dulacca Wind Farm and will connects into the same line, the company says. That is, the projects will sit in Queensland’s south, just under 400 km west of Brisbane.

“When constructed in 2025, Ardandra in combination with Dulacca will create the ‘Western Downs Energy Park,’” Octopus Australia says, though it is not clear whether 2025 will mark the beginning of construction or the project’s completion.

While the announcement does not explicitly say the 400 MWh battery and 175 MW solar plans were formulated by Juwi, the company’s Regional Director for Asia-Pacific, Christian Cronje, is quoted as saying: “We are happy to have Octopus Australia take on the continued development.” Juwi appears not to have previously announced the projects, and no further details about the proposed battery’s chemistry or power capacity have been released.

In May, Octopus also acquired a 400 MW Hay Plains wind project in southwestern New South Wales from Juwi.

Coming back to Octopus’ Western Downs Energy Park plans, the company says the hub would be one of the first “truly integrated multi-technology renewable energy parks” in Queensland and Australia. 

Integrated renewable and storage technologies allow clean energy to provide ‘firmed’ energy offerings, providing energy when customers need it most,” Darren Brown, co-head of investment and development at Octopus Australia, said.

Sam Reynolds, Octopus Australia’s managing director, has previously highlighted the importance of diversification both in terms of the company’s renewable energy asset portfolio and its investor base.

“We think it’s better to have a portfolio – and that’s what the platform is, a portfolio of assets – wind, solar and storage – that look after the fluctuating nature of renewables but also the fluctuating nature of the daytime energy prices,” Reynolds previously told pv magazine Australia, referring to Octopus Australia’s two new investment platforms launched in 2022.

The Western Downs Energy Park currently consists of the 43-turbine Dulacca Wind Farm, which hosts some of Australia’s largest wind turbines and is backed by a 70% offtake deal with the Queensland government’s CleanCo. 

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