U.S. firm to build $1.7 billion data centre, large-scale battery in Australia

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MELBOURNE – Private-equity firm Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners said it has won approval to build a data centre worth A$2.5 billion ($1.7 billion) in Australia, that will eventually include one of the largest utility-scale batteries in the country.

Houston-based Quinbrook said on Friday it will build a campus for its Supernode project in the state of Queensland that could house four “hyperscale” data centres. The company also plans to build renewable energy capacity and a 2,000-megawatt-hour battery energy storage system (BESS) for the site.

“Adding large-scale battery storage and renewables to address high power prices, grid stress and the decarbonisation of our power supply at the same time is a remarkable investment opportunity by any measure,” Quinbrook Senior Director Brian Restall said in a statement.

Data centres are considered power-hungry, and developers are attempting to make them less dependent on high carbon-emitting sources by using wind and solar energy.

Quinbrook said it has begun marketing Supernode to data centre operators and also filed applications to start building the battery storage in mid-2023.

The project, which received Foreign Investment Review Board and local planning approval, is similar to an 800-megawatt green data centre campus Quinbrook launched in Texas.

Quinbrook, founded by Australians, has so far focused only on projects in the United States and Britain.

Following the recent election of a new Labor government, which is committed to expanding renewables to 82% of power supply from 30%, Quinbrook co-founder David Scaysbrook said he sees much more opportunity to invest in Australia.

“All the existing (power) capacity in Australia has to be tripled within eight years … and clearly that requires a huge amount of private sector capital to be deployed in that timeframe to achieve it,” Scaysbrook said in May.

($1 = 1.4663 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)