GREEN LIGHT: Stage two of the Lower Wonga solar farm has been approved, allowing it to store enough energy to power Gympie for 40 hours.
GREEN LIGHT: Stage two of the Lower Wonga solar farm has been approved, allowing it to store enough energy to power Gympie for 40 hours. Contributed

40 hours of power coming to $2 billion Gympie solar farm

BATTERY power is coming to the planned Lower Wonga solar farm with approval for enough storage to power the city for almost two days if supply was cut.

Gympie Regional Council has approved stage two of the $2 billion project, which will allow 1000 megawatts of battery storage at the site.

"This electricity would provide power to Gympie if the grid supply was interrupted for a period of about 40 hours," SolarQ's Alex Armstrong said.

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Adding battery storage will not increase the project's footprint. Mr Armstrong said they would slot neatly into a 30ha piece of the development's first stage.

Managing director Scott Armstrong said battery storage added another dimension to the solar farm, "making it one of the largest utility-scale renewable energy projects in the country".

 

Scott Armstrong managing director of SolarQ at Lower Wonga Sub Station near Gympie.
Scott Armstrong at Lower Wonga Sub Station where the farm will be built. Renee Albrecht

"The stage one project is approved for the generation of up to 350MW of electricity and the addition of batteries ensures that security of supply over a daily and weekly range is guaranteed," he said.

"The batteries ensure that intermittent supply of solar energy is minimised by providing power overnight or at times of high demand."

Alex Armstrong said SolarQ hoped to break ground in the year's last quarter.

While a main investor was still not secured, Mr Armstrong said the scale and complexity of the project were a big part in that.

 

Night at the Gympie sign on the Bruce Hwy.
Gympie at night. John Clough

"We're talking to a significant number of investors as we speak," he said.

"It's a big project."

With the latest approval granted, Mr Armstrong said future stages were "on hold" while SolarQ worked to get the approved stages ready for construction.

Once all stages were completed the solar farm would generate at least 800MW of electricity.