The New South Wales Government has approved a proposal to increase the size of the New England Solar battery energy storage system to 2,800MW hours – enough energy to supply 175,000 homes with on-demand energy.
The 720MWac (936MWdc) New England Solar project is being built in two stages; stage one – 400MWac (521MWdc) – officially opened in March this year. The New South Wales Independent Planning Commission approved the project in 2020, which included the approval for a 200MW/2hr battery energy storage system.
An application to modify the development consent for the project has now been approved by the Department of Planning and Environment, which includes an increase to its battery energy storage capacity of 1,400MW/2hr, or 2,800MW hours. The modification also includes some changes to stage two of the solar project area, helping to optimise the project, and move it another step towards construction.
The location of the battery is within the approved site boundary, with the additional land for the larger battery currently being used as laydown areas for stage one construction works. This area was chosen due to its proximity to the substation where it can connect to the electricity transmission network.
The Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN) Australia welcomed the decision to approve the increase.
ACEN Australia Chief Executive Officer, Anton Rohner, said the additional battery storage at New England Solar would play a critical role in securing energy supply across the state.
“The state’s ageing coal fired generators are due to close over the next 20 years; large battery energy storage systems like these are critical in replacing that capacity with on-demand energy,” Mr Rohner said.
“The New England Solar battery storage can charge using excess power generated from solar and wind, and discharge that energy when required.”
“It will be a reliable, cheaper, and greener form of energy generation for New South Wales.”
ACEN Head of International, Patrice Clausse, said, “We thank the New South Wales Government for their continuing support for our projects. We look forward to continuing to work together to decarbonise New South Wales and Australia at large.”
The additional storage capacity will allow the project to increase its energy storage potential, as well as provide additional firming and greater network system strength support, resulting in a more stable New South Wales electricity network.
This is on the heels of ACEN Australia recently having secured a 20-year Long Term Energy Service Agreement (LTESA) for the New England Solar project, as part of the New South Wales Government’s first renewable energy and storage auction. It provides an option to access a minimum price for generation projects.