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How a tiny Queensland town could hold the key to low emission technologies

At last count, the town of Lakeland in far north Queensland registered a population of 227 and is humbly serviced by a hotel, café, roadhouse and a small store. But, from April 2017 it will also be home to the Lakeland Solar and Storage Project – Australia’s first solar plant with battery storage to be connected to a major electricity grid.

We’ve entered into a Knowledge Sharing Partnership (KSP) with Conergy, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), and Ergon Energy after recognising the project’s unique nature and vast potential for learning. The battery storage component of the project is particularly important to us. Because energy from the sun isn’t always available, it’s essential to be able to capture and store solar energy to ensure consistent access to power. 

Over 35 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions from our operations are the result of generating electricity. The Lakeland Solar and Storage Project is a great way to explore technologies that could accelerate our transition to a lower emissions business. 

Lakeland is connected to the Ergon Energy network in Queensland, but is located at the ‘fringe of the grid’. Fringe of the grid locations are typically a long way from central energy generation stations and often suffer from reliability or maintenance issues. 

Solar farms – areas of land in which a large number of solar panels are set up to generate electricity – are particularly important at the fringe of the grid as they can address reliability challenges, infrastructure constraints and maintenance problems caused by long distance power lines. 

The location of the project and Lakeland’s ‘fringe of the grid’ status makes it very similar to some of our Asset locations, like those in South Australia. Studying this area will allow us to learn how similar technology could benefit our operations.

The project will be constructed on around 60 hectares of land and will generate and store enough renewable energy to power 2,000 local homes. It’s hoped the technology will allow the local electricity grid to be disconnected from the main grid, powering the area with only the solar plant and battery storage. 

Learn more about our perspective on climate change and what we’re doing to address it.