Danish renewables giant buys Australian megaproject


From pv magazine Australia

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) has confirmed that it has acquired a suite of projects that make up the Bowen Renewable Energy Hub, a giga-scale integrated generation and storage project under development in the Australian state of Queensland.

The project, which will be renamed the Capricornia Energy Hub, will integrate 1.4 GW of pumped hydro projects with more than 1 GW of solar, a 500 MW wind farm, battery energy storage, and a hydrogen electrolyzer 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 was designed to deliver 750 MW and 16 hours of storage (12,000 MWh). The second stage is expected to deliver an additional 12,000 MWh of storage.

CIP Australia Vice President Matthew Stuchbery said the energy hub aligns with the company'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.”

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The original developers indicated that the first stage of the pumped hydro project will be online by 2028. Stuchbery said CIP would review the timeline, but will ensure that the project remains on track to deliver large-scale storage by the end of the decade.

“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 throughout Europe, said it will now look to advance the approvals process and geotechnical investigations. It will continue to work with Queensland state-owned utility CS Energy, which signed a deal earlier this year 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 in the Bass Strait, off the coast of Victoria.

CIP has also partnered with Hydrogen Renewables Australia to develop the 5 GW Murchison Renewable Hydrogen Project near Kalbarri, Western Australia.

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