US investor Quinbrook gears up to build giant battery at Brisbane’s $2.5b Supernode

US investor Quinbrook gears up to build giant battery at Brisbane’s $2.5b Supernode

Artist's impression of the planned $2.5 billion Supernode in Brisbane

US-based investment group Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners is poised to start construction on one of Australia’s largest battery energy storage systems as part of its $2.5 billion Supernode project in Brisbane’s north.

Construction has been finally triggered after financial completion was reached for Supernode, a major data storage campus that was first announced by Quinbrook two years ago.

Supernode, located adjacent to the South Pine substation at Brendale which is the central node of the Queensland electricity network, has been described by Quinbrook as a “significant digital infrastructure project combining both critical energy and data storage capacity” to be powered by Queensland renewable power projects.

Stage one will comprise the battery energy storage system with a 250-megawatt capacity to enable the storage of surplus solar and wind energy, while helping to displace fossil-fuel generation.

Quinbrook ultimately aims to co-locate a 2,000-megawatt battery energy storage system within the Supernode precinct.

Origin Energy has committed to the full capacity of stage one following an agreement reached with Quinbrook, which is also planning to incorporate a data storage facility as part of the Supernode precinct following the completion of the battery project.

Brendale was chosen as the site for the project as it will intersect the new Torus dark fibre data cable, providing Brisbane with a direct connection to the international sub-sea cable that lands at Maroochydore from Guam.

“The successful close of Supernode stage one is significant for Queensland as it delivers valuable large-scale storage at the best possible location in the state’s power grid,” says Quinbrook co-founder David Scaysbrook.

“The South Pine site is a unique and strategic location offering unparalleled power supply access and redundancy and is testament to Quinbrook’s ability to source, fund and develop innovative projects for the benefit of our investors and provide tangible solutions to decarbonise power systems.”

The Queensland Government backed the subsea cable project to the tune of $15 million in 2017, assisting the Sunshine Coast Council to deliver Queensland’s first direct international data and telecommunications undersea network cable.

With the cable now operational, the government says it offers the digital technology industry access to international connection for projects such as efficient, large-scale data storage.

“When we announced this Supernode almost two years ago, I said it showed what the future holds for Queensland’s digital and renewables economy and the creation of knowledge-based jobs,” says Queensland Premier Steven Miles.

“Since then, we have made massive strides in making Queensland a clean energy powerhouse, anchored by our revolutionary Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan.

“The construction of stage one in Brendale is more evidence that business believes in our vision. Renewable energy generation and storage like this will power us towards our 70 per cent renewable energy targets.”

Supernode is being developed on a 30ha site at Brendale with Quinbrook planning up to four “hyperscale” data centres that will connect directly to the South Pine substation offering up to 800MW of power supply capacity with three separate high-voltage connections. 

Quinbrook, a specialist investment manager focused exclusively on the infrastructure needed to drive the energy transition in the UK, US and Australia, has invested more than US$2.5 billion ($3.8 billion) in more than 200 renewable projects globally since it was founded by David Scaysbrook and Rory Quinlanin in 2015.

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