Maoneng Australia has filed a development application for the AUD 112.5 million ($84.6 million) Gould Creek battery storage project in South Australia. It has said that the utility-scale battery will facilitate the rising penetration of renewables into the grid, while also providing stability for the energy market.
The developer has commenced the project’s notification period with the submission of its development application with the state government’s State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP). The application proposes the construction of a 225 MW/450 MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) on a 30-hectare site at Gould Creek, about 20 kilometers north of central Adelaide.
The Gould Creek BESS project, which would eclipse the recently expanded 150 MW/194 MWh ‘Tesla Big Battery’ known officially as the Hornsdale Power Reserve, will include approximately 240 shipping containers. Maoneng has not yet provided details about the chemistry of the batteries it intends to build, but it has said that the BESS will provide enough energy to support up to 40,000 households at peak hours.
An operations and maintenance building will also be constructed on the secured site, alongside a 33/220 kV substation. The Gould Creek project will connect to the high voltage 275 kV transmission grid via ElectraNet’s existing Para Substation, located less than 100 meters away from the proposed construction site.
The project, which is scheduled for completion in 2023, has already received support in principle from the state government. Department for Energy and Mines Chief Executive Paul Heithersay has said that the development can be considered “essential infrastructure” with the potential to benefit South Australia.
The development application report, prepared by engineering and energy consultancy firm GHD, claims that the project will be critical to ensuring the stability of the grid as it transitions to renewable energy.
“The proposed BESS represents a critical electrical infrastructure to the state,” the company said in the application documents. “As South Australia transitions to a greater share of intermittent renewable energy sources, grid stability facilities such as grid-scale batteries are required to ensure the safe and reliable provision of electricity. The system will support the safe and efficient operation of South Australia’s energy grid.”
The Gould Creek BESS is another addition to the growing list of big batteries in the pipeline for the National Electricity Market, including a 250 MW/250 MWh battery being constructed by energy giant AGL at the site of its coal-fired Torren Island Power Station in South Australia.
Data supplied by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) shows that financial commitments for new utility-scale battery projects in Australia increased fourfold between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of this year, from 150 MW to 600 MW. The CEC said at least 15 other large-scale battery storage projects have been announced this year, representing more than 6.6 GW of capacity and AUD 4.3 billion in investment.
That number is likely to increase with the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) proposing a new rule in April to bring new, ultra-fast frequency services into the National Electricity Market – services that will come largely from batteries.
The Gould Creek project builds on Maoneng’s Australian portfolio, which includes a deal to develop four large-scale batteries, each 50 MW/100 MWh in capacity in New South Wales, for energy giant AGL. The deal includes a 15-year contract that will allow AGL to call on capacity from the batteries at a fixed price. The batteries are expected to be installed by 2023.
That project adds to the 300 MW solar offtake deal Maoneng signed with AGL in December 2017, under which AGL sources energy from the 200 MW Sunraysia Solar Farm in southwestern New South Wales, among other solar projects.
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