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Queensland’s largest grid-scale battery will be built in Wandoan in Queensland under a 15-year agreement between AGL and Vena Energy Australia.

The Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) will have an initial capacity of 100MW and store 150MW hours of energy, which could power up to 57,000 average homes annually.

Queensland Energy Minister, Dr Anthony Lynham, said, “Queensland’s renewable energy revolution is steaming ahead and the next wave is battery storage. 

“The climate-change deniers criticise renewable energy for not being available when the sun doesn’t shine and wind doesn’t blow: batteries are a game-changer.

“This battery is the first step in Vena Energy’s bigger plans to deliver up to 1000MW of solar energy in Queensland.”

Vena Energy CEO, Nitin Apte, said the battery build would begin in July 2020 and take about a year to complete.

“The battery energy storage system is the first major milestone in our $650 million Wandoan South Project (external site), which has the potential to supply up to 400,000 Queensland households with solar energy,” Mr Apte said.

“During construction of the battery, local employment and procurement opportunities will be available, with the labour force anticipated to be 30 strong.

“And once the battery is built, Vena Energy Australia plans to keep the momentum moving and aims to begin work on a solar farm at the same site in 2021.”

AGL CEO, Brett Redman, said the lithium ion battery would complement the company’s renewable projects.

“This battery will support our massive Coopers Gap Wind Farm, which will be producing up to 453MW of energy when all 123 wind turbines are up and running,” Mr Redman said. 

“AGL will also be able to leverage excess solar generation in Queensland and provide capacity when the Coopers Gap Wind Farm and other renewable power sources are not generating.” 

Dr Lynham said Queensland already had three large-scale batteries operating: at Lakeland Solar Farm in Far North Queensland, at Kennedy Energy Park near Hughenden, and one at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. Another in Townsville is expected to be operating in February 2020. 

“Queensland has seen $4.7 billion worth of investment in renewable energy projects since December 2016, creating 4200 jobs,” Dr Lynham said.

“Queensland now has almost 5500MW of renewable generation capacity.

“Batteries are next, and all of this investment demonstrates industry’s strong confidence in Queensland’s growing clean energy industry.”

“Early last year we delivered the Dalrymple 30 MWESCRI battery on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia as part of a joint venture with ElectraNet and in October we announced a deal with Maoneng Group to buy capacity from four 50MW/100MWh batteries in NSW.

Mr Redman said AGL is investigating the viability of pumped hydro plants at Kanmantoo in South Australia and Bells Mountain in NSW, which, he said, would provide more than 500MW of capacity if they were progressed.

“We are also working with the New South Wales Government’s Emerging Energy Program on a proposal to build a 50MW battery at Broken Hill, we have plans for a gas firming power station in Newcastle, and we are exploring other sites,” Mr Redman said.

“It’s all ensuring that we remain well on track to reach our target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.”

AGL and Vena Energy Australia have signed a 15-year agreement to deliver and operate the battery. As the user of the battery, AGL will have full operational dispatch rights, and as the owner of the battery, Vena Energy Australia will build and maintain the asset.

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