Graphite Energy to develop Lake Sustainable Energy Precinct

Graphite Energy Current Lake Cargelligo Solar Thermal Power Generation and Research Facility
Graphite Energy Current Lake Cargelligo Solar Thermal Power Generation and Research Facility

Australian thermal energy storage innovator Graphite Energy has received development approval to develop its Lake Sustainable Energy Precinct at Lake Cargelligo in New South Wales.

Graphite Energy’s Lake Cargelligo facility will commence construction in late 2023 and mark the first stage of the company’s Lake Sustainable Energy Precinct masterplan. The new Lake Cargelligo facility will extend Graphite Energy’s current site to house a new manufacturing research facility, which will play a vital role in the testing and design of systems that will deliver the Lake Sustainable Energy Precinct.

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Upon completion, the Lake Sustainable Energy Precinct will generate renewable energy to power sustainable agriculture and create a robust circular economy, serving as an Australian-first pilot model that can be scaled and replicated throughout Australia and the rest of the world.

The ground-breaking $29 million Lake Sustainable Energy Precinct is a collaborative effort between Graphite Energy and Cygnus Ag, as well as other key stakeholders from industry, research and government. The project aims to demonstrate how renewable energy and agriculture can coexist, using industry advancements to enable renewable energy sources without forgoing farmland.

The Lake Sustainable Energy Precinct masterplan will include a 5MW solar PV field combined with multiple forms of integrated energy storage, including:

  • battery energy storage for providing electricity
  • thermal energy storage for providing heating, cooling and drying
  • hydrogen energy storage for providing electricity and diesel fuel substitution.

The energy will then be used to power sustainable agriculture operations, which will include:

  • agrivoltaics—protected cropping operation underneath and between the solar panels
  • greenhouse—protected cropping for the production of vegetables and leafy greens
  • fish farm—tank-based aquaculture system to produce fresh fish.

Once operational, it’s estimated the Lake Sustainable Energy Precinct will avoid over 250,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions over its lifetime, serving as the poster project for how new technology can be leveraged to deliver viable green energy alternatives.

The surplus energy generated by the Lake Sustainable Energy Precinct will be exported to the grid and the waste streams generated from the agricultural operations will be recycled to create compost and fertiliser.

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Graphite Energy CEO Peter Lemmich said the approved Lake Sustainable Energy Precinct represents a significant step forward for energy independence and a cleaner, greener future.

“As well as playing an instrumental role in supporting local agriculture in Lake Cargelligo, the Lake Sustainable Energy precinct will pioneer a pathway for the decarbonisation of agriculture more broadly, which will be a difficult to abate sector of the economy. We hope this will become a model that can be replicated elsewhere as we transition to a lower carbon economy,” he said.

Construction of the first stage is scheduled for completion by July 2024.

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