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Quinbrook closes financing on BESS for new ‘Supernode’ data centre in Queensland, Australia

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A Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners portfolio company will shortly begin construction on a 250MW/500MWh battery storage system in Queensland, Australia.

Queensland’s premier, Steven Miles, and the state’s energy minister, Mick de Brenni, made a joint statement today announcing that the project in Brendale, a suburb of Moreton Bay, has achieved financial close.

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Construction of the battery energy storage system (BESS) is the first stage of a project called ‘Supernode’, a AU$2.5 billion (US$1.63 billion) data centre complex powered by locally generated renewable energy.

The battery storage system’s output is planned to be increased to 2,000MW, while local planning permissions were secured in 2022 for four multi-tenant data centre campuses.

Privately-owned electricity generator-retailer (‘gentailer’) Origin Energy has contracted the full capacity of Stage 1.    

Quinbrook is a specialist investment manager focused on the energy transition through renewables, energy storage and grid infrastructure, headquartered in the US with a total of around US$8.2 billion in equity invested in projects in the US, UK and Australia since its founding in the 1990s.

Its notable investments include Gemini, a solar-plus-storage project in Nevada, US, which features one of the world’s biggest battery storage systems, at 1.4GWh. Earlier this month Quinbrook closed US$600 million financing for its Valley of Fire solar PV and solar-plus-storage projects in three US states.    

‘Responsible emissions targets are key to creating jobs’

The portfolio company behind the new project in Queensland is also called Supernode, and specialises in developing so-called “hyperscale” sustainable data centre campuses on the East Coast of Australia.

Supernode claimed to be identifying sites which have ‘hard-to-replicate’ advantages for placing such campuses, including land, local renewable resources, and fibre internet access as well as water and other utilities and existing infrastructure.

According to a 2022 release from Quinbrook, the Brendale project will benefit from an existing substation at South Pine, which offers up to 800MW power supply capacity from three separate high-voltage connections.

The Queensland ministers said the new BESS will enable the integration of wind and solar PV generation, while displacing the use of coal, still the state’s primary source of electricity, along with other polluting energy sources.

Queensland recently published its roadmap for 12 planned Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) multi-technology generation and storage sites in the state.

It is also supporting or enabling a broad range of energy transition and economic development activities through the state’s Energy and Jobs Plan legislation, including support for local lithium and flow battery supply chain industries, renewables, distributed and large-scale battery storage, pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) and transmission upgrades.

The AU$62 billion plan was introduced by former premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in 2022, and is part of a policy that aims to get the state to 70% renewable energy by 2032. Its other key tenets include that much of Queensland’s energy industry should be in public ownership.

“Responsible emissions targets are essential to jobs in our existing industries like mining, agriculture, and manufacturing, and they’re the key to creating more jobs in the new industries of the future, here in the southeast and right across Queensland,” Premier Steven Miles said.

Miles also noted that the state government in 2017 invested AU$15 million in a landing station for international broadband network cables.

“We know we have the connection with the world to support new data centres, like the one that will be built here, creating high-value jobs that can be powered by renewable energy,” Miles said.

Read more of Energy-Storage.news’ coverage of the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan here.

Energy-Storage.news’ publisher Solar Media will host the 1st Energy Storage Summit Australia, on 21-22 May 2024 in Sydney, NSW. Featuring a packed programme of panels, presentations and fireside chats from industry leaders focusing on accelerating the market for energy storage across the country. For more information, go to the website.

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