Giant battery to unlock Australian renewables


From pv magazine Australia

Australia is once again looking to maintain its position as hosting the world’s largest battery storage system. The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) said on Thursday that it has completed the System Integrity Protection Scheme (SIPS) procurement process on behalf of the Victorian government and has confirmed that Neoen has won the contract.

The French renewables producer will deliver the battery in collaboration with Tesla and network partner AusNet Services. It will also oversee its ongoing operation and maintenance.

Under the SIPS contract, which extends until 2032, AEMO will reserve 250 MW of the battery’s 300 MW capacity to operate in a control scheme to increase the capability of the Victoria to New South Wales Interconnector (VNI) and respond to unexpected network outages.

AEMO said the battery will provide an automatic response in the event of an outage, providing additional ways to ensure grid stability. The battery will also participate in the National Electricity Market (NEM) and support increased penetration of renewables in Victoria through network services such as fast-frequency control.

AEMO Managing Director and CEO Audrey Zibelman said the procurement process had attracted significant interest, and Neoen’s proposal was a standout.

“Neoen’s solution, developed with Tesla and AusNet Services, on a unit cost basis, was a significantly more cost competitive and attractive market response than other major battery developments in Australia,” she said.

“We are extremely proud to be launching a project of this scale and innovation in support of Victoria’s clean energy transition,” said Neoen Australia Managing Director Louis de Sambucy.

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The Victoria Big Battery will be installed near the Moorabool Terminal Station near Geelong. It is expected to be operational by November 2021. It will be the largest battery yet constructed in Australia at twice the size of 150 MW/194 MWh Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia. Tesla and Neoen partnered on both stages of the Hornsdale battery project.

The Victoria Big Battery will rely on Tesla’s Megapack technology, which is also being utilized in Transgrid's AUD 61.9 million (US$44.9 million) Wallgrove Grid Battery in Sydney.

Victorian Minister for Energy Lily D’Ambrosio said that the “humongous” system will be instrumental in helping the state reach its objective of 50% renewables by 2030.

“Victoria is embracing new technologies that will unlock more renewable energy projects than ever before – delivering clean, cheap, reliable power to all Victorians,” she said. “By securing one of the biggest batteries in the world, Victoria is taking a decisive step away from coal-fired power and embracing new technologies that will unlock more renewable energy than ever before.”

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said that the battery would play a significant role in the state’s accelerated transition to renewable energy.

“The battery … will provide key grid support services, particularly in peak periods should there be unexpected network outages,” he said. “Consumers will also benefit from low-cost power, with the battery able to store energy from clean wind and solar.”

The battery is expected to have a major impact on wholesale energy prices, with independent analysis showing that every AUD 1 invested in the battery will deliver more than AUD 2 in benefits to Victorian households and businesses.

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