Letters to the editor

Renewable energy need heavy duty electricity

LUNA: Ian Ah Wing sent in this photo of an "angry moon" overlooking the Isa. "Guess you could call it a Bad Moon Rising," Ian said.

LUNA: Ian Ah Wing sent in this photo of an "angry moon" overlooking the Isa. "Guess you could call it a Bad Moon Rising," Ian said.

I am writing to express my deep disgust at the George Street crowd that thought it such a great idea to endlessly rubbish and effectively cause the cancellation of  the original Copperstring project in North Queensland.

Most notably Campbell Newman and Jeff Seeney who repealed the 'significant project' declaration in September 2012.

Alas Minister Mark Bailey, your response letter from only a few months back, was NOT offering up a lot of enthusiasm to redress the issue. Better smarten up bro, you are the shareholding minister with oversight of Ergon/Powerlink, Stanwell and probably have the APA group and Copperstring proponents on speed dial!

The lack of ongoing foresight is sad, as it is only a matter of time that a significant range of Renewable Energy (RE) projects would get their financial ducks in a row.

However all these projects must have some heavy duty electrical transmission capacity connected to make anything of decent size in that part of remote Queensland become possible.  

As of October 2016 the Qld RE panel list the folowing prospects, with some federal ARENA funding recently forthcoming:

- Kennedy 1 & 2 + Hughenden Solar Parks  (20+30+14MW + BigK 600MW) 

- Kidston PV and Pumped Hydro, Forsayth and Etheridge RE schemes (50+330+75+90 MW)

These are likely benefactors of the heavy duty capacity the 275kv Copperstring and second FNQ/Gulf link would deliver across northern reaches of Queensland.

The peak nameplate capacity of 600-1200MW of all these RE projects could well exceed the capacity that may have been delivered by Pentland coal plant proposed in the Bjelke Petersen era, and entertained again by Peter Beattie for a while.  

But when the private investors are picking up 90% of the tab and champing at the bit to break ground, well the State of Queensland is way ahead, and would be well served using "critical infrastructure declarations" more wisely than the wasted effort on that Carmichael coal mine fiasco.   

Stage 1 of the Kennedy Solar Park will likely have to make do with existing Ergon distribution infrastructure. It is absurd to contemplate trying to jam 50MW back up the existing 66kv line that stretches out in excess of 380km to Hughenden.

Voltage drop would be huge and summer 2016/17 largely will be wasted and that runs a risk the RE investors getting wobbly on coughing up on Kennedy Stage 2.

But it doesn't end just there as the additional benefit of the original Copperstring being planned to go all the way through to Mount Isa.

This would to deliver a huge amount of interconnection flexibility and energy security for the north-west Queensland mineral precinct to grow further and deliver options to exchange energy needs with the east-coast NEM.

Consider the connection of the Diamantina Gas (300MW) plant and maybe with some life extension on elements of Stanwell's elderly Mica Creek (<318MW), that adds a serious amount supplemental on-demand gas capacity that with the full-bottle Copperstring connected can leverage with the aforementioned RE projects and consistently dispatch energy back and forth from North Queensland and the NEM.

Putting further PV farms into far western reaches of Queensland may well deliver the flexibility to send PV generated energy  back to the east-coast regional centres deeper into the late afternoon peak demand period, and thus minimise added cost/complexity/need for battery storage at other sites. 

The blazing hot western Queensland sun sets at Mount Isa nearly a hour after Brisbane.  If a Stage 2 HVDC link through to Darwin was then connected then there is additional North-West shelf derived gas capacity that can entertained and even latter sunsets and new geothermal and wind locations and options involved.   

Trent Deverell, Dysart

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