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Project overview
  • Lead Organisation

    Scouller Energy

    Location

    Normanton, Queensland

    ARENA Program

    Regional Australia’s Renewables

  • Start Date

    December 2015

    Status

    Past

  • Project Partners
    SMEC, Normanton Solar Farm, CEFC, Canadian Solar (Australia) Pty Limited
    This renewables project was completed on 10 December 2021.

Summary

The Normanton Solar Farm project will involve the construction of the 5MW DC Normanton Solar Farm in North-West Queensland.

Key results

  • The connection of the Normanton Solar Farm (NSF) is having a positive impact on the sub transmission network through reducing transmission line losses
  • The NSF is reducing network losses by providing localised solar power generation through the middle of the day peak demand period
  • It is worth noting that NSF found; “The penetration of renewables onto the North Queensland grid in 2018 resulted in a marked reduction in MLFs causing the total loss factor, and in turn revenues, to reduce by 16.5%. Until the North Queensland region sees further load growth, it may not be attractive for new generation assets to connect in the region.”

Need

The Normanton region’s power is supplied from networks on long lines, which can cause voltage fluctuation and electrical losses.

Solar PV energy is being explored as a way to address network challenges in fringe-of-grid locations in regional Australia, which are typically more susceptible to power outages and supply constraints compared to urban areas.

Project innovation

The Normanton Solar Farm project will provide a valuable demonstration of how renewable energy can benefit regional networks. A network impact plan will guide assessment of the value of these benefits and their transferability to other regions throughout Australia.

Practical evidence of the benefits of augmenting supply with locally generated renewable energy will be discovered by working closely with the local energy distributor Ergon Energy. This information will be provided to network operators and state and territory governments across Australia. Data from the project will be publicly reported via an online portal.

The project will also explore how solar plants could gain extra revenue through network benefits support payments.

Benefit

Normanton Solar Farm will provide generation of solar energy closer to the end user to help improve network stability.

The project will provide valuable knowledge regarding the challenges in developing solar PV in remote, tropical regions of Australia. As more solar energy is deployed, and the industry become more experienced and efficient in delivery, solar energy becomes increasingly competitive against other technology sources.

The results of this project will also enable an assessment of the value of broader regulatory change to support future projects and the business case for using renewables as an alternative to upgrading network infrastructure. This will drive the growth of renewable power generation across regional Australia, particularly in constrained, fringe of grid environments.

Last updated 27 January 2022
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