The Australian Capital Territory Government has signed a partnership agreement with Eku Energy to deliver a 250MW/500MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) facility as part of the Big Canberra Battery project. 

The Williamsdale BESS, which will have the ability to store enough renewable energy to power one-third of Canberra for two hours during peak demand periods, will cost between $300 to $400 million and will be developed, built, and operated by Eku Energy. Construction will start in late 2024 with completion expected in 2025.

The Big Canberra Battery project will provide renewable energy security across the electricity grid, help the Australian Capital Territory grow its renewable energy sector, provide more local employment opportunities, and deliver a positive financial return for the Territory.

The battery project has a key objective of supporting the electricity grid during network outages, particularly in peak periods when the electricity grid can be under significant stress. It can backup the grid in just a few milliseconds, helping to prevent blackouts.

Chief Minister and Minister for Climate Action, Andrew Barr, said the Australian Capital Territory Government’s partnership with Eku Energy to develop a grid-scale battery at Williamsdale is a significant step in the delivery of the Big Canberra Battery ecosystem.

“When I first announced the Big Canberra Battery project we had three objectives in mind; grow jobs in our renewable energy sector, create a meaningful revenue stream for the Territory and improve energy security for Canberrans – this contract delivers on all three of those objectives,” Mr Barr said.

“As a combined network, this battery ecosystem can address network constraints, enable more Canberrans to reap solar benefits and present the opportunity for the Territory to reduce costs and generate revenue.

Mr Barr said battery storage technology is a critical component of our net zero emissions future as we continue to lead the nation on climate action.

“The Australian Capital Territory has delivered 100 per cent renewable electricity since 2020, and initiatives like this build on that achievement and demonstrate the viability of renewable energy in supporting a robust, affordable, and sustainable energy grid,” Mr Barr said.

Eku Energy Asia Pacific Director and Chief Investment Officer, Daniel Burrows, said Eku Energy was delighted to partner with the Australian Capital Territory Government to deliver the next stage of the Big Canberra Battery and support the Government’s commitment to achieve net zero emissions in the Territory by 2045.

“Eku Energy is accelerating the deployment of battery assets in Australia by combining deep global expertise in financial and energy markets with our established specialist local business to deliver safe, secure and reliable energy storage solutions in a cost-effective manner for end energy users,” Mr Burrows said.

“The Big Canberra Battery represents a significant milestone for Eku Energy as we celebrate our first GWh of battery energy storage in delivery in Australia. This brings our global portfolio of battery energy storage assets to over 4GWh.”

Through an innovative revenue sharing arrangement, the Territory will receive a consequential share of the revenue from the battery’s participation in the National Electricity Market. The battery will also provide a range of energy and essential system security services. In exchange, the Territory will provide Eku Energy with fixed quarterly payments over a period of 15 years.

The Big Canberra Battery project is delivering an ecosystem of batteries at different scales. 

Feature image: Big Canberra Battery project. Provided by Eku Energy.

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