14 August 2014 —Laing O’Rourke is building the world’s first fully redeployable large-scale hybrid solar-diesel power plant suited to supplying power for off-grid remote and regional locations.
The Australian Renewable Energy Agency this week announced it would provide funding of $450,000 towards the $1.5 million pilot roll-out, which will be at LOR’s Combabula construction workforce accommodation village in regional Queensland.
“ARENA supported Laing O’Rourke to undertake initial design work into this technology and we are very pleased to see it moving into the demonstration stage,” ARENA chief executive Ivor Frischknecht said.
“The speed at which this game-changing solution has progressed from the drawing board to the field is a testament to the clever Australian design and its potential to bring more renewable energy to off-grid Australia.”
The plant will comprise transportable container-sized modules with a control centre and inverters and external pre-wired connections. This makes the system rapid to install and commission, and also rapid to pack down, an advantage for short-term and medium-term project locations like a remote work camp.
Laing O’Rourke managing director Cathal O’Rourke said the company is leveraging its Design for Manufacture and Assembly approach to deliver the technology, which could be used to increase use of solar energy and reduce diesel use across all the firm’s remote and regional work sites.
“Construction and engineering must break away from traditional processes if it is to evolve and deliver projects quickly, safely and more sustainably,” LOR managing director Cathal O’Rourke said.
“Our engineering and construction operations across Australia currently deploy hundreds of diesel generators, of which many can potentially be augmented with this new renewable energy technology.”