The report is an analysis of the potential for solar PV and wind co-location, which considers the synergies available as well as some of the challenges and risks of delivering co-located projects.
This report provides a summary of the current and prospective opportunity for co-location of wind and solar farms in Australia. The purpose of the report is twofold, firstly to provide ARENA and Government a deeper appreciation of the business case considerations and co-location potential in Australia; and secondly, to provide useful information to developers who are considering co-location developments.
The opportunity to retrofit existing wind farms with solar farms has significant potential not only in Australia but globally. With over 370 GW of large scale wind farms globally and 4 GW installed in Australia there are numerous locations where the two renewable resources are highly complementary. As the renewable industry matures, becoming less dependent on subsidies and cost reductions plateau, the industry must contemplate innovative ways of improving its competitiveness.
It is well known that the development costs and timescales for renewable projects in Australia can be significant barriers for renewable projects, placing pressure on the upfront investment requirements of developers. By colocating wind and solar farms, synergistic gains can be achieved to help reduce overall cost. Each co-location project must balance the interplay between generation profile to maximise long term energy yield (and minimise curtailment), whilst simultaneously exploiting commercial synergies found in the development, design, construction and operation of developing co-located solar and wind plants. AECOM found that major savings can be achieved, particularly in the grid connection infrastructure. Total cost savings were estimated to be between 3 to 13 percent for CAPEX and 3 to 16 percent for OPEX.