by Michelle Goldsmith, Contributing Editor, Energy magazine
It’s official: Australia likes big batteries. The last few years have seen numerous new battery projects announced, existing projects completed, and new projects began. And there’s more to come. Independent energy consultancy Rystad predicts that Australia’s total utility-scale battery capacity will double over 2022, passing 1.1GW. The first part of this article provided an overview of battery energy storage systems (BESS) currently operating or under construction around the country. In this second installment, we look at some of the biggest batteries in the pipeline.
Building storage capacity: big batteries under construction
In the November 2021 edition of Energy, we looked at the big batteries already operating around Australia and those in various stages of construction. In the time since, the 300MW/450MWh Victorian Big Battery has come online, and commissioning has begun at the 50MW/75MWh Wallgrove Grid Battery in New South Wales. Additionally, ground has been broken on several new big battery projects.
Capital Battery/Queanbeyan Battery (100MW/200MWh), Australian Capital Territory
Neoen has begun construction of the 100MW/200MWh Capital Battery project, located just north of Transgrid’s Queanbeyan substation. Due to the emerging market for battery services, the company decided to double the battery’s initially planned 50MW capacity.
Of this larger capacity, 50MW was committed as part of the ACT Government’s 2020 renewable energy auction, with a further 50MW yet to be contracted. The battery will be linked to the ACT grid through the neighbouring substation.
Neoen awarded Doosan the engineering, procurement and construction services contract for the project. The battery is expected to start operating in the first half of 2023.
Torrens Island grid-scale battery (250MW/250MWh), South Australia
In South Australia, work on the 250MW/250MWh Torrens Island grid-scale battery is underway. The battery, located at AGL’s Torrens Island gas facility, is the first of AGL’s planned 850MW of battery projects to break ground. AGL appointed Wärtsilä to construct the $180 million project.
The storage duration of the big battery will initially be for one hour (250MWh), with space for future expansion of up to four hours (1,000MWh). The battery is expected to be fully operational by early 2023.
Kwinana Big Battery (100MW/200MWh), Western Australia
Synergy’s $155 million Kwinana Big Battery is under construction at the decommissioned Kwinana Power Station. NHOA Australia received the contract to deliver the 100MW/200MWh lithium- ion battery system, and awarded a $50 million contract to GenusPlus Group for engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning.
The Western Australian Government provided $140 million for the project, with the Federal Government contributing $15 million. The battery is expected to come online by the end of 2022.
Hazelwood Battery (150MW/150MWh), Victoria
A 150MW/150MWh battery is under construction at the site of the former Hazelwood coal-fired power station in Victoria’s La Trobe Valley. The Hazelwood battery will utilise existing infrastructure at the site to connect to the Victorian grid.
When complete, the $150 million installation will be Australia’s largest privately funded BESS. Engie has a 70 per cent ownership stake in the battery, and the remaining 30 per cent belongs to Macquarie’s Green Investment Group.
The owners appointed Fluence to build, operate and maintain the BESS, under a 20-year contract. The battery is due for completion in November 2022.
Big batteries incoming: confirmed BESS projects
In addition to those already under construction, a multitude of big battery projects are soon to begin or have been confirmed.
With the market for grid-scale battery services expanding rapidly, an ever-increasing number of projects are being announced or progressing through various stages of planning. According to Rystad data, as of December 2021, around 28GW of utility-scale batteries were in the pipeline across Australia. Here we look at a selection of the largest confirmed battery projects so far.
Kurri Kurri Battery (1.2GW), New South Wales
In 2021, CEP Energy unveiled plans for a 1.2GW (1,200MW) battery energy system at Kurri Kurri. CEP Energy has secured a lease on the site of the proposed project, which is approved for power generation. Construction is expected to begin this year, so the BESS can start operating in 2023.
Goyder Renewables Hub BESS (up to 900MW/1.8GWh), South Australia
Neoen has secured approval to build a battery of up to 900MW/1800MWh in Goyder South, as part of the $3 billion Goyder South Renewables Zone project. The zone will also feature up to 1.2GW of wind energy, and 600MW of solar power generation.
Work has already begun on the first stage of the project, which involves constructing a 412MW wind farm at the site.
Loy Yang Battery (200MW/800MWh), Victoria
AGL has received planning approval for a 200MW/800MWh battery at the Loy Yang Power Station in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley. This BESS is part of the company’s planned national rollout of 850MW of grid-scale batteries.
Eraring Battery (700MW/2.8GWh), New South Wales
Origin is progressing plans for a 700MW/2800MWh grid-scale battery at Eraring Power Station in New South Wales. The company has lodged a connection inquiry with TransGrid to connect the battery to the national grid via the Eraring substation.
The full capacity of the BESS will be deployed over three stages, with the first expected to be reached by the end of 2022.
Gould Creek Battery (225MW/450MWh), South Australia
Maoneng has received development approval and is undertaking procurement for a 225MW/450MWh BESS adjacent to the Para transmission substation in Playford, South Australia. Construction is planned to begin in late 2022, with completion expected before the end of 2023.
Sunraysia Emporium BESS (100MW/200MWh), New South Wales
Maoneng has announced a 100MW/200MWh battery system, called Sunraysia Emporium, near Balranald in New South Wales. The battery is expected to be completed in 2022/2023.
Bouldercombe Battery (50MW/100MWh), Queensland
Genex is progressing plans to build a 50MW/100MWh battery on land adjacent to Powerlink’s Bouldercombe substation in Queensland. The battery will comprise forty Tesla Megapacks and is expected to be operational by the end of 2023.
Big Canberra Battery Project (250MW), Australian Capital Territory
The ACT Government has announced plans to build 250MW of battery storage capacity and is in the process of shortlisting proposals. The total storage capacity will be made up of one or more batteries spread across the territory.
In recent times, dozens of new battery storage projects have been proposed. These include multiple battery systems with massive storage capacities of over a gigawatt. Those that follow are just a few of the biggest proposed big batteries to date.
Australia-Asia PowerLink Battery (36–42 GWh), Northern Territory
In the Northern Territory, Sun Cable intends to build a 36–42GWh battery. The Australia-Asia PowerLink would be the world’s largest battery storage facility and solar farm. It is intended to supply Darwin, Singapore and Asian Markets.
The project is expected to cost around $30 billion to construct, and to provide around $2 billion of energy exports per year. The first supply of electricity to Darwin is forecast for 2026, the first supply to Singapore in 2027, and full capacity by the end of 2028.
Photon Solar and Storage Battery (3.6GWh), South Australia
Dutch-based solar developer Photon Energy proposes t construct a 300MW solar generation facility, along with 3.6GWh of battery storage, in South Australia. Photon has secured land for the project and is progressing plans.
Melton Renewable Energy Hub BESS (600MW/2.4GWh), Victoria
Syncline Energy has released plans to build a 600MW/2400MWh BESS in Victoria. According to the proposal, the Melton Renewable Energy Hub will connect to the grid via AusNet’s Sydenham terminal station.
Just the beginning
Among the many other large grid-scale battery projects proposed across Australia are the 500MW/1GWh Great Western and Wallerawang 9 batteries, and the 700MW/1.4GWh Waratah Super Battery, all in New South Wales; the 203MW/812MWh La Trobe Valley BESS in Victoria; and the Robertstown Solar Battery (250MW/1GWh) in South Australia.
The rapid expansion of the energy storage arena, and a continued drive to decarbonise the economy and reach net-zero emissions, means one thing is for sure about Australia’s big battery future: more is yet to come.