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10 biggest upcoming renewable energy projects in Australia

08/05/2019
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Australia may be well known for its abundant oil and gas and other natural resources, but thanks to a concerted push by state governments, policy makers and energy companies it is quickly becoming a globally recognised leader in renewable energy.
Thanks to a concerted push by state governments, policy makers and energy companies Australia is quickly becoming a world leader in renewable energy projects.
In 2018 alone Australia’s renewable energy and storage project pipeline surpassed $20 billion worth of investment, with around 80 projects currently under construction creating over 13,000 direct jobs. It’s an impressive achievement, but it looks like the best is yet to come. According to data from the Clean Energy Regulator Australia is set to install about 10,400MW of new renewable energy over the course of 2018 and 2019, of which 7,200MW will be large-scale renewables, and 3,200MW rooftop solar.

If this rate of installation growth continues it’s estimated that Australia’s energy mix could reach 50% renewables by 2025. An analysis by the ANU Energy Change Institute suggests that the Australia energy industry has now demonstrated the capacity to deliver 100% renewable electricity by the early 2030s.

With these impressive figures in mind, and the opportunity for significant numbers job opportunities on the horizon, EngineeringPro decided to take a look at the 10 biggest upcoming renewable energy projects in Australia.
The Walcha Energy Project combines onshore wind and solar energy generation with pumped storage hydro.

1. Walcha Energy Project

Cost: $5bn (approx.)
Location: New South Wales


Combining onshore wind and solar energy generation with pumped storage hydro, the Walcha Energy Project is very much an ‘all-in-one’ renewable energy project. Situated around 55km south of Armidale in the New England tablelands, the Walcha Energy Project will be biggest single renewable energy project in Australia’s main grid once it has been completed and connected in 2022. It’s estimated that the project’s generation potential is equivalent to 15% of NSW’s electricity demand with a total power output in the region of 4,000MW.

The Walcha Energy project is being primarily developed by MirusWind and Energy Estate, and is part of ongoing efforts in the region to replace older fossil fuel generation with cleaner sources of electricity. A string of coal plan retirements including the closure of Liddell Power Station in 2022 and other plants during the mid-2030s means large-scale renewables projects such as Walcha are needed to keep the lights on.
Liverpool Range Wind Farm

2. Liverpool Range Wind Farm

Cost: $2bn (approx.)
Location: New South Wales


Another project which is seeking to ween New South Wales off fossil fuels is the Liverpool Range Wind farm, situated between Cassilis and Coolah, in the middle of the Upper Hunter area. With over 260 turbines set to be installed this project is expected to have a power output of 979MW, providing clean green energy to local businesses and households. Although originally commenced by Epuron, the Liverpool Range Wind Farm project has since been sold to Tilt Renewables which is aiming to become ‘the leading developer, owner and manager of renewable energy generation assets in Australia and New Zealand’.

The project was granted approval from the NSW Department of Planning & Environment in late-2018 and is aiming for start-up in late-2019.
Kennedy Energy Park, Queensland

3. Kennedy Energy Park

Cost: $2bn (approx.)
Location: Queensland


Billed as a ‘world-first’ wind, solar and energy storage facility Kennedy Energy Park will be located in Flinders Shire in central north Queensland, and will feature 43MW of wind, 15MW of solar, and 2MW/4MWh of battery storage. These initial power generation facilities are intended to act as a ‘proof of concept’ with the ultimate plan to construct up to 1,200MW of renewable energy generation. Eurus Energy and Windlab, the two companies behind the project, predict this renewable energy generation will provide electricity for an equivalent of 800,000 homes.

The Kennedy Energy Park project makes careful use of geography to maximise its energy generation potential. Windlab selected the location as it has one of the highest levels of solar irradiance that can be connected into electricity networks, and it is also home to a ‘complimentary’ wind source. What makes it so complimentary is that on a typical day the solar resource ramps up in the morning as the wind slows down, and in the evening as the as the sun is setting the wind picks up and continues to generate steady power throughout the night.

The project is expected to start-up in the third quarter of 2019.
Desailly Renewable Energy Park

4. Desailly Renewable Energy Park

Cost: $2bn (approx.)
Location: Queensland


Desailly Renewable Energy Park will be situated approximately 75km to the north-west of the town of Mareeba and 55km west of Port Douglas in North Queensland, generating clean energy primarily from a solar photovoltaic (PV) farm with connected battery energy storage. 

DP Energy, the company behind the project, expects to install 1,000MW of solar PV capacity, up to 400MW of battery storage and up to 3,000MW of synchronous condenser capacity via one or more synchronous condenser facilities.

Development of the project will take place in five stages with start-up in 2020. Once operational the solar PV farm will export power to the National Electricity Market (NEM) throughout its expected operational life of approximately 25 years.
Clarke Creek Energy Hub

5. Clarke Creek Energy Hub

Cost: $1.5bn (approx.)
Location: Queensland


Another ‘energy hub’, Clarke Creek will consist of a wind and solar power plant located 150km north west of Rockhampton in the Isaac Shire and Livingstone Shire in Queensland. Initial plans call for the installation of 195 wind turbines, each with 4.5MW capacity alongside 400MW of solar panels and grid-scale battery storage. 

The project is in an area of high wind and solar resources and close to an existing main road from Marlborough to Sarina. The project is also adjacent to the existing high voltage electricity transmission network, with three large transmission lines providing the ability to connect the project to the region’s grid.
Following environmental approval from the federal government in January 2019, the development of the project is going ahead with Clarke Creek Energy and Lacour Energy the main operators. Construction of the project is expected to take three years with start-up planned for 2022 at the latest.
SEA Solar Farm Park

6. SEA Solar Farm Project

Cost: $1.5bn (approx.)
Location: Queensland


The SEA (Sunshine Energy Australia) solar farm project is an ambitious mix of solar generation and energy storage which is aiming to generate enough electricity to supply around 300,000 households in the Queensland area every year for the next 25 years. Around 1,500MW of solar generation will be installed alongside 500MWh of energy storage. Expected to be completed in several stages, the project will create over 1,000 new jobs, both onsite and logistically, of which 30-60 permanent jobs will be created to run and maintain the solar farm once completed.

The first phase of the project should be connected to the grid by fourth quarter of 2019.
Jim's Plain Wind Farm

7. Jim’s Plain Wind Farm

Cost: $1.2bn (approx.)
Location: Tasmania


Spread over 380 hectares in Tasmania, the Jim’s Plain onshore wind farm will have an aggregate energy potential somewhere between 600MW and 1000MW. Whilst still very much in the planning stages, the Jim’s Plain project may also include solar PV facilities in addition to wind turbines (although a statement from UPC Renewables, the company behind the Jim’s Plain project, says that the addition of solar PV is very much ‘subject to the economics stacking up’).

Should the planning and feasibility stages of Jim’s Plain work out, the project could be up and running by 2021.
Wandoan South Solar Power Project

8. Wandoan South Solar Power Project

Cost: $1.2bn (approx.)
Location: Queensland


Singapore-based Equis Energy is planning to construct a 1,000MW solar PV farm located across 1,400 hectares of land near Wandoan, north-west of Brisbane. This is another project which is expected to make a major contribution to satisfying Australia’s growing domestic energy demand, providing enough power on an annual basis to supply the needs of 255,000 homes.

Equis was granted approval to proceed with development in August 2017, and it is expected that the $1.2 billion project will be developed in three stages with the installation of the nearly 3 million individual solar PV panels to be completed at some point in late 2019.
Ceres Onshore Wind Farm

9. Ceres Onshore Wind Farm

Cost: £1.1bn (approx.)
Location: South Australia


Claimed to be the first project to connect a capital city to wind power via an undersea cable, the Ceres Onshore Wind Farm will sit on the Yorke Peninsula, South Australia from where its more than 180 wind turbines will generate 600MW. 

Senvion, the company behind the Ceres project, intends for it to ‘showcase South Australia’s status as a global clean energy leader while bringing significant economic and social benefits including up to 500 construction and 50 ongoing jobs’.

As many as 200,000 households are expected to be powered directly from the Ceres project once it achieves start-up during 2021.
Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park

10. Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park

Cost: $1bn (approx.)
Location: South Australia


Another ‘integrated’ wind and solar energy project, the Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park will work on a similar basis to the Kennedy Energy Park outlined above. The Port Augusta project will be located at a locus point of both solar and wind resources, meaning it will be able to balance the relative quantities of wind and solar generation, thus tailoring the electricity generation profile to meet the demand profile from the local grid.

In other words, the project’s location will reduce intermittency issues and reduce the need for expensive peaking power.

The brainchild of DP Energy, the Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park will feature both wind turbines and solar photovoltaic (PV) modules across approximately 5,400 hectares of land running from Port Paterson in the north to Winninowie in the south and spanning Highway One.

DP Energy has stated that the total generation capacity of the project will be up to 375MW, producing enough energy to power approximately 154,000 south Australian households. Construction is anticipated to last around 18 months during which 250 jobs will be created. Once fully operational in the third quarter of 2019, the project will support 15-20 ongoing jobs.
Renewable energy generation and storage projects are creating thousands of jobs across Australia

Generating clean green jobs across Australia


For years Australia has been a strong source of jobs for both local and expatriate technical and engineering professionals in the oil, mining and natural resources industries. Now it can also claim to be a world-leader in renewable industry jobs, thanks to the projects outlined above (and many more!).

In 2019 alone, the renewable energy project pipeline will create over 13,000 jobs right across the project lifecycle from construction and planning through to maintenance and operations. That’s an impressive number, and it’s one that’s bound to grow larger as Australia continues to act as a shining example of the energy transition.

Major projects need major talent


Renew your career with Fircroft! As one of the global leaders in the provision of recruitment and workforce solutions to the renewable energy industry Fircroft is well placed to help you secure your next premium job role.

Since 1970 we’ve served some of the biggest power generation and clean tech companies and enjoy a reputation for excellent contractor customer care. Open up a world of opportunity and register your CV / Resume with Fircroft today and be the first in line to secure employment on the major Australian renewable energy projects of 2019 and beyond.

If you’re a renewable energy company seeking to secure the best technical and engineering talent for your future projects, explore Fircroft’s comprehensive range of services and request a free consultation now.
Recent Comments
hy i want to join your group.
ALI ASAD, 08 May 2019
All these projects look fine however there has been and still is, a major stumbling block as a number of Construction companies have found out and that is to execute the procurement and construction phases and make profit. Problem No1 has been that lack of planing of the procurement phase then lack of planing for the construction phase I know of a company who employed a planner for Project Manager then not listen to him, the key words were, she new what she was doing, this is simply not the case. I know very few people to whom i would work with in this field, but these these people different they're deep thinkers and performers, not cowboys/cowgirls remember RCR as an example.
Murray Ridsdale, 08 May 2019
While pursuing alternative energy is commendable, I suggest that before anyone gets too excited about it they read a recent paper from the Manhattan Institute titled "The New Energy Economy: An Exercise in Magical Thinking" by Mark P Mills. It is very interesting and lets reality rear it's ugly head again instead of letting everyone live in la la land.
Ian Joel, 09 May 2019
I am a graduate from university of Tasmania in project managment in naval architechture back ground if I get a chance to join your company I am the luckyest..
Dulaj Dassanayake, 09 May 2019
I trust you're well. I'm looking for investment opportunities in the Renewable Energy Industry in Australia and Germany. I'm an intermediary looking to identify opportunities for a Strategic Investment company that have built a strong track record of over 500MW of renewable energy projects. They are showing strong interest in the RE industry in Australia and Germany. I would like to inquire of your knowledge of projects and technologies requiring investment in Australia and Germany and your advice on the best ways to establish contact. Thanks in advance. Looking forward to your response. Best regards, Hisham Al-Riyami
Hisham Said Al-Riyami, 04 November 2019
Please help Australian right now please tell the prime minister of that the coals business oil gas plastic all got to goes please talk to the prime minister urgently peoples are at risk of in the climate change problem please have all homes in Australia to rebuild eco friendly please demolished every old homes to be rebuild eco friendly to fight against climate change please have all this arranged immediately please plus remove all the dangerous oil plants out of australia
Claudia Jane Miller, 31 December 2019
Thanks Ian, but looking into who "The Manhattan Institute" is, I wonder if their funding from Exxon etc affects their objectivity? https://centerjd.org/content/fact-sheet-manhattan-institute
Robert Adams, 02 January 2020
Thanks Ian, but looking into who "The Manhattan Institute" is, I wonder if their funding from Exxon etc affects their objectivity? https://centerjd.org/content/fact-sheet-manhattan-institute
Robert Adams, 02 January 2020
I was wondering if wind farms required light weight Fire protection systems. Unifrax manufactures a range of products to provide protection up to H class fire ratings.
Roger Simpson, 30 March 2020
I am graduate in electrical engineering with 15 years of experience in project execution and management also having good experience in solar power plant construction can I get any jo opportuinity in australia I am from India
Kaustubh, 27 April 2020
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10 biggest upcoming renewable energy projects in Australia - Time to read 10 min
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