Synergy eyes system security as work begins on Australian big battery


Western Australia’s state-owned energy generator and retailer, Synergy, said the first of more than 600 lithium iron phosphate battery units that will make up the Kwinana Big Battery have been installed at the project site, about 30 kilometers south of Perth.

The project’s engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor, Italy-based energy storage specialist New Horizons Ahead (NHOA), is delivering the project in partnership with Perth-based subcontractor GenusPlus Group. It said the installation of the battery units will take approximately eight weeks. Once completed, the 100 MW/200 MWh battery will be connected to the South-West Interconnected System (SWIS), the state’s main grid, and will have the capacity to power the equivalent of 160,000 homes for two hours.

Energy Minister Bill Johnston said the battery will support the integration of more renewable energy into the grid, smooth fluctuations in demand and renewable energy supply and substantially contribute to grid security and stability.

“Increasing energy storage over the next decade will be crucial to addressing system security risks, such as high levels of rooftop solar generation, and ensuring reliable power supply to Western Australia’s main electricity grid,” he said. “Synergy is also implementing a battery management system, to optimise its performance and longevity.”

Synergy, which will operate and manage the battery energy storage system, said it is a major component of its future asset mix and a demonstration of the gen-tailer’s commitment to the delivery of safe, reliable and affordable energy.

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“Increasing levels of large-scale and rooftop intermittent renewable generation has led the rapid transformation of the energy sector, presenting a range of opportunities related to how electricity is produced, managed and consumed,” the company said. “The battery project will enable Synergy to optimise the use of its existing generation assets and provide network and system services to increase system security, providing a more sustainable, reliable and effective power supply to the wider region.”

Synergy said the Kwinana Big Battery would allow for renewable load shifting, absorbing excess energy from rooftop solar when demand is low and discharging during peak periods, helping to provide long-term system stability. It is also intended to provide learnings towards other large-scale battery storage projects earmarked for the next five years.

The state government has plans to deploy 1,100 MW of new energy storage projects as part of a AUD 3.8 billion ($2.6 billion) new renewable energy infrastructure package announced in June this year. Premier Mark McGowan said large-scale battery storage will help support the uptake of more renewables in the South West Interconnected System as Western Australia transitions toward net-zero emissions.

“This project is just one part of our massive investment in renewable energy infrastructure,” he said.  “The big battery forms part of our commitment to net zero emissions by 2050.”

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