Origin secures approval for 2,800 MWh battery in Australia


From pv magazine Australia

Origin Energy has secured planning approval from the Australian state of New South Wales for a 700 MW mega battery that will help replace the 2.88 GW Eraring coal generator the utility plans to close in 2025.

With an overall capacity of up to 700 MW and a dispatch duration of four hours, the proposed Eraring big battery is Australia’s largest battery project to achieve planning approval to date. Origin’s head of energy supply and operations, Greg Jarvis, said the battery energy storage system would help to replace the coal-fired power station, which supplies about one-quarter of the state's energy needs.

“Our proposed battery forms part of our plans to replace Eraring’s capacity and maintain reliable energy supply to customers as we plan for the potential accelerated closure of the coal-fired power station in August 2025,” he said. “Eraring Power Station is well suited to battery storage and potentially other energy infrastructure over time, as there is extensive electricity connection infrastructure already in place nearby.”

Jarvis said Origin will now focus on finalizing vendor and constructor negotiations and transmissions connection agreements, so the project can progress toward a final investment decision. The battery is one of at least two energy storage systems, including the state government’s proposed 700 MW/1,400 MWh Waratah Super Battery, that are set to replace the capacity of the Eraring power plant.

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Origin said in February that it would bring forward the closure of the power station. It submitted notice to the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) that it would shut the facility in August 2025, seven years earlier than previously scheduled. The company said the move is reflective of the “rapidly changing conditions in the National Electricity Market, which are increasingly not well suited to traditional baseload power stations and challenging their viability. The reality is the economics of coal-fired power stations are being put under increasing, unsustainable pressure by cleaner and lower cost generation, including solar, wind and batteries.”

Meanwhile, the New South Wales government says it has received more than 30 proposals from local and international bidders to build its planned Waratah Super Battery. State Energy Minister Matt Kean said the state government has secured strong interest from potential suppliers for the big battery system and will now prepare a formal tender process.

The proposed battery will have an overall capacity of 700 MW and a dispatch duration of two hours. Kean said it will help to release grid capacity and secure the state’s energy future. Among the possible locations being suggested for the new battery is the former Munmorah Power Station site adjacent to the 667 MW gas-fired Colongra Power Station near Doyalson on the Central Coast. The former 1.4 GW coal-fired power plant was closed in 2012.

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