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In a world-first, South Australia’s 150/193.5MW/h battery storage facility at Hornsbury Power Reserve (HPR) will deliver grid-scale inertia services, following approval from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

The project is a joint venture between renewable energy producer, Neoen, electric vehicle manufacturer, Tesla, and the State and Federal governments and will ensure greater stability to the SA grid.

Located in a critical part of the network, HPR will automatically provide the necessary stability to the South Australian grid, which has reached 64 per cent renewable penetration over the last 12 months.

HPR now has the capacity to contribute an estimated 2,000MW of equivalent inertia, or around 15 per cent of the predicted shortfall in the State’s network, which serves over 1.7 million people and 150,000 businesses.

Neoen Australia’s Managing Director, Louis de Sambucy, said the project would reinforce the companies investment in, and support of, SA’s 100 per cent renewable target.

“We are delighted to announce the successful deployment of inertia at Hornsdale Power Reserve,“ Mr de Sambucy said.

“This achievement was forged through outstanding teamwork: I’d like to acknowledge the dedication of our team and our long-term partners at Tesla, as well as our trusted counterparts at AEMO and ElectraNet.

“It was made possible through the support of the South Australian Government, and of the Australian Government via ARENA and CEFC.

“In pioneering the delivery of grid-scale inertia, Neoen continues to lead the way in battery storage innovation, reinforcing its contribution and commitment to South Australia’s 100 per cent renewable energy target.”

A minimum level of inertia, in conjunction with frequency control services, is needed both during normal operation of the electricity network and after major disturbances. Inertia has traditionally been provided by gas or coal fired generators.

The closing of thermal power plants and increasing volumes of renewable energy are resulting in inertia shortfalls in the grid, a serious network issue that batteries are now able to overcome. 

The solution received support from the SA State Government, which committed $15 million over five years through their Grid Scale Storage Fund, and from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) which contributed$8 million as part of their Advancing Renewables Program.

HPR had also been supported by a long-term debt facility from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), its first investment in a standalone grid-scale battery.

SA Minister for Energy and Mining, Tom Koutsantonis, said the HPR project, first commissioned in 2017, continues to be a pioneer in the industry.

“The Hornsdale Power Reserve was revolutionary when we commissioned it back in 2017 and continues its pioneering role,“ Mr Koutsantonis said.

“It is leading the innovation of inverter-based technologies – paving the way for more, much needed large scale storage projects both in Australia and beyond.

“Expanding the capabilities of the Hornsdale Power Reserve by activating Virtual Machine Mode, a first for the world, further demonstrates South Australia’s commitment to global leadership in the adoption and integration of renewable energy to improve grid stability and energy reliability, while bringing power prices down for all South Australians.”

The landmark achievement concludes two years of trials and intensive collaboration between Neoen and battery technology provider Tesla, working closely with AEMO and ElectraNet, South Australia’s network operator.

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