Flinders Shire Mayor Jane McNamara, State MP Robbie Katter, Eurus Energy vice president Kunio Umezaki and Windlab CEO Roger Price launched the Kennedy Energy Park project at Hughenden.
Flinders Shire Mayor Jane McNamara, State MP Robbie Katter, Eurus Energy vice president Kunio Umezaki and Windlab CEO Roger Price launched the Kennedy Energy Park project at Hughenden.

Energy project could be start of $2b construction boom

THE Australian and Japanese venturers behind an innovative renewable energy project marked the start yesterday of what could become a $2 billion construction boom for Hughenden.

But it will likely not be so much in solar generation but in wind energy.

That is because the wind at Hughenden, 380km west of Townsville, complements solar by blowing mostly during the morning, evening and night when the sun doesn't shine.

"The wind resource really is complementary," Windlab CEO Roger Price said.

"There are not a great many wind opportunities in Queensland so the Big Kennedy project is vitally important and will play a key role in backing solar generation."

Windlab and Japanese equity partner Eurus Energy marked the start of little Kennedy, a $160 million first stage, comprising 60 megawatts of wind, solar and battery storage being built about 20km south of Hughenden.

The much larger Big Kennedy project of up to 1200 megawatts of predominantly wind generation is planned for another site 80km north of Hughenden.

During the sod turning ceremony, the wind caused difficulties by blowing down signage and ruffling speech notes.

"I can't help notice the irony of the wind blowing everything while we are here," State MP Robbie Katter said.

Mr Price said the $160 million first stage would create about 100 jobs during construction over the next 12 months with a decision on whether to proceed with Big Kennedy expected late next year or early 2019.

They hoped to be in construction on the larger scheme, estimated at more than $2 billion, by 2020.



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