Quinbrook launches $2.5 billion ‘Supernode’ data storage project in Brisbane

Specialist investment manager Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners has announced today the launch of one of the largest permit-approved data storage campus projects in the Southern Hemisphere, to be powered by renewables and battery storage.
Quinbrook launches $2.5 billion ‘Supernode’ data storage project in Brisbane
Courtesy of Quinbrook.

The ‘Supernode’ project will host one of the largest battery storage installations in the Australian National Electricity Market. The site is located adjacent to the South Pine substation at Brendale which is the central node of the Queensland Electricity Network and offers unparalleled power supply access and redundancy with three separate high voltage transmission connections supporting ‘mission critical’ data centre operations targeting Net Zero emissions.

Supernode is an internationally significant digital infrastructure project combining both critical energy and data storage capacity to be powered by Queensland sited renewable power projects. The unique Supernode site at Brendale is only 30 kilometres from Brisbane CBD and will intersect the new Torus dark fibre data cable currently under construction which will directly connect Brisbane for the first time ever to the international sub-sea cable recently landed at Maroochydore from Guam.

Quinbrook has secured a 30 hectare site at Brendale and recently obtained both Foreign Investment Review Board and local planning permissions from Moreton Bay Regional Council for a multi-tenant campus of up to four hyperscale data centres that will connect directly to the adjacent South Pine substation offering up to 800 MWs of power supply capacity with three separate high voltage connections.

These high capacity power connections together with Queensland’s low cost and abundant renewable power resources, will offer data centre customers at Supernode significant renewable power cost savings relative to interstate campus locations. Quinbrook plans to procure, self-develop and construct the renewables supply capacity needed by Supernode customers as their energy demands grow.

Quinbrook has also lodged a ‘code assessable’ planning application for a 2,000 MWh Battery Energy Storage System (‘BESS’) to be co-located within the Supernode precinct, creating a ‘first of a kind’ project offering an innovative solution to the critical stability issues facing the Queensland power grid as recently identified by AEMO. The BESS will add valuable dispatchable supply services to the grid to firm additional renewables capacity and put downward pressure on power prices while also reducing the risk of power outages for all Queenslanders. The Supernode BESS adds to several milestone BESS projects Quinbrook is currently constructing and developing in the US and UK including the $2 billion+ Gemini solar+BESS project in Nevada, US which recently closed the largest ever financing for a single US renewables project.

The Supernode precinct offers Queensland the opportunity to build and attract new digital economy businesses and jobs to the State for the first time, now that Queensland will be directly connected to the international subsea data communications network and enjoy a material latency advantage over data centres located in the southern states. The planned hyperscale data storage and BESS infrastructure will represent an estimated capital investment of up to $2.5 billion when fully constructed.

With the State Government’s focus on ensuring Queensland leads Australia in renewable energy and their support for the subsea data cable already landed at Maroochydore, Supernode is the ideal location for leading data centre operators seeking cost competitive renewables and unparalleled power supply reliability representing a compelling ‘Net Zero’ infrastructure solution.

The site enjoys the lowest latency communication connection into the Asia Pacific region from Australia’s east coast and, via the South Pine substation, access to cheap and abundant renewable power from all grid connected regions of Queensland. Quinbrook has appointed CBRE to manage customer engagement for Supernode.

“Supernode is the latest example of our strategy to make impactful and ‘hard to repeat’ investments that help decarbonise energy intensive data centre operations using renewable power solutions” said David Scaysbrook, co-founder and Managing Partner of Quinbrook. “Brendale is a truly unique location in the Pacific region and is well deserving of the ‘Supernode’ title. Brendale follows close on the heels of our recent investment in Texas creating a similar 800 MW green data centre campus at Temple, near Austin, the initial phase of which became operational last month. I am particularly pleased that Quinbrook’s own team conceived this unique opportunity here in Queensland and has undertaken all the project development work to get us to this exciting launch stage. Queensland can now compete more aggressively with the rest of Australia on the fundamentals of cost, sustainability of operations and latency in order to attract leading data storage operators and create the necessary foundations for the next digital age.”

Brian Restall, Senior Director of Quinbrook added that adding large scale battery storage and renewables to address high power prices, grid stress and the decarbonisation of the power supply at the same time, is a remarkable investment opportunity by any measure.

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