Australian utility unveils plans for 800 MWh big battery


From pv magazine Australia

Synergy, an energy generator and retailer owned by the Western Australian government, plans to install a 200 MW/800 MWh battery energy storage system alongside a 100 MW/200 MWh big battery that is currently being built at the site of the decommissioned Kwinana power station, south of Perth.

Synergy has submitted a development application to the Joint Development Assessment Panel for an estimated AUD 450 million ($300 million) grid-scale battery to be built alongside the 100 MW/200 MWh Kwinana Big Battery, which will start operations in April. It was originally anticipated that the battery would be operational by September 2022, but the project has been delayed due to problems associated with global supply chain issues.

Once completed, the Kwinana Big Battery will connect 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. Synergy, which will operate and manage the battery energy storage system, said it will be a major component of its future asset mix, as Western Australia's state-owned coal power stations will be retired by 2030.

“Batteries are flexible, they provide grid stability and support the integration of more renewable energy into the network,” said Synergy Chief Executive Officer David Fyfe.

Fyfe said the Kwinana Big Battery and the proposed second energy storage systems are part of the utility’s commitment to deploy 1,100 MW of new large-scale storage by the end of the decade. It aims to ensure supply stability as the continued uptake of rooftop solar and renewables forces changes in the energy system.

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Western Australian Energy Minister Bill Johnston has also backed the introduction of large-scale energy storage to support the integration of more renewable energy into the grid. He said it will 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 said construction of the second big battery will begin as soon as possible, after planning approval is received. The utility is already engaging potential suppliers and securing long lead items for the project.

The proposed Synergy big battery is one of a number of energy storage projects being pursued in Western Australia. The Australian unit of French renewable energy developer Neoen has filed planning documents to develop a 1 GW/4 GWh battery near the coal town of Collie in WA’s southwest and a 200 MW/400 MWh battery at Muchea northeast of Perth.

Victoria-based developer Sunshot Energy is also exploring large-scale energy storage, floating the potential for a 600 MWh to 800 MWh battery to be built as part of a proposed green hydrogen industrial hub near Collie, Western Australia.

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