Final testing has begun on South Australia’s 150MW Hornsdale Power Reserve, the biggest lithium-ion battery in the world, which is owned by Neoen.

The South Australian Government provided $15 million from its Grid Scale Storage Fund for the project.

South Australian Minister for Energy and Mining, Dan van Holst Pellekaan, said the start of testing is a key milestone for the Hornsdale Power Reserve, which will allow the huge battery to provide new grid support services at a scale unmatched in the world.

“With the project entering its critical testing phase, this means its full capacity will be activated and testing will check that the battery is operating as intended and safely,” Mr van Holst Pellekaan said.

“The significant expansion of Neoen’s ‘Big Battery’ is evidence of the innovation taking place in South Australia’s energy sector, and the benefits that grid-scale storage can provide.

“This milestone is a key demonstration of the value being delivered by our election commitment to resecure our grid by expanding storage through the $50 million Grid Scale Storage Fund.

“After additional testing, the battery will deliver a range of grid support services which mimic those provided by traditional generations, such as inertia, which helps reduce shocks to the system.”

Mr van Holst Pellekaan said that the additional storage power and capacity would result in a faster response to disturbances such as network faults, so that the Hornsdale Power Reserve could assist in stabilising the grid within milliseconds.

“In demonstrating the benefits that batteries can provide, this will help inform the regulatory changes required to create new markets which attract new technologies to support renewable energy,” Mr van Holst Pellekaan said.

“Independent modelling indicates that the Hornsdale Power Reserve has already delivered more than $150 million in savings to consumers in its first two years of operation. Upon successful completion of testing in the next few months, we expect these savings will continue to grow.

“The State Government is providing $15 million across five years from the Grid Scale Storage Fund with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) committing a further $8 million.

“The Commonwealth’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is also backing this project with $50 million in finance to support the completion of the expanded facility,” he said.

Managing Director of Neoen Australia, Louis de Sambucy, said the Hornsdale Power Reserve’s testing phase will ensure that the completed expansion meets the highest performance standards.

“The expansion will make Hornsdale Power Reserve 50 per cent bigger and will deliver ground-breaking innovations to increase grid security and further unlock renewable energy performance in South Australia,” Mr de Sambucy said.

“With the support of Tesla, the South Australian Government, ARENA, CEFC, the Northern Areas council and construction partner Consolidated Power Projects Australia, the Hornsdale Power Reserve will keep South Australia at the forefront of the energy transition.”

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