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Victoria will be getting its own “Big Battery”, with Neoen to build the 300MW Victorian Big Battery, one of the largest batteries in the world. 

Neoen will build the battery now that it has been awarded a 250MW grid services contract with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), in a competitive tender initiated by the Victorian Government.

The battery storage facility will be located next to Moorabool Terminal Station in Geelong, Victoria. It will be delivered in collaboration with Tesla, using its Megapack technology, and network partner AusNet Services.

This System Integrity Protection Scheme (SIPS) contract with AEMO will run until 2032, and is the result of the SIPS 2020 procurement process initiated by the Victorian Government.

Louis de Sambucy, Neoen Australia’s Managing Director, said, “We are delighted to have won the SIPS contract and would like to thank AEMO and the Victorian Government for placing their trust in us. 

“We are looking forward to working once again with Tesla and AusNet to deliver this world-leading battery storage facility over the coming months. 

“We are extremely proud to be launching a project of this scale and innovation in support of Victoria’s clean energy transition.”

Tony Narvaez, AusNet Services Managing Director, said, “AusNet Services is proud to be the network partner with Neoen and Tesla on this world-leading project. Large scale energy storage is an important component in the transition to a renewable future, while helping to maintain network stability and energy security for Victoria.” 

The battery will unlock up to an additional 250MW of peak capacity on the existing Victoria to New South Wales Interconnector (VNI) over the next decade of Australian summers. 

Under the contract, the battery will provide an automatic response in the event of an unexpected network outage, providing AEMO with an additional means of ensuring grid stability. 

Audrey Zibelman, AEMO’s CEO,said,  “AEMO’s competitive procurement and evaluation process attracted significant interest. 

“Neoen’s solution, developed with Tesla and AusNet Services, on a unit cost basis, was a significantly more cost competitive and attractive market response than other recent major battery developments in Australia.”

Batteries are genuinely well suited to perform this service because they can respond in a fraction of a second. The battery will also participate in the National Electricity Market and support increased penetration of renewables in Victoria through network services such as fast frequency control.

The Victorian Big Battery will help to modernise and stabilise the grid in Victoria and will be instrumental in helping the State reach its objective of 50 per cent renewables by 2030. 

The Hon Lily D’Ambrosio MP, Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, said, “By securing one of the biggest batteries in the world, Victoria is taking a decisive step away from coal-fired power and embracing new technologies that will unlock more renewable energy than ever before.” 

Independent analysis shows that  every $1 invested the battery will deliver more than $2 in benefits to Victorian households and businesses. 

The savings that big batteries can provide to energy consumers are now well-established, with independent reviews demonstrating that Neoen’s Hornsdale Power Reserve has delivered more than $150 million in savings in its first two years of operation. 

The battery, which is targeted to be operational by the end of 2021, will also deliver a significant economic boost to the Geelong region, creating over 80 construction jobs and six full time permanent jobs. 

Environment Victoria CEO, Jono La Nauze, said, “At 300MW, it’s twice the size of the Tesla big battery in South Australia. This is a game-changer for Victoria’s transition from old coal-burning power stations to clean energy.

“This big battery gets us halfway to the storage target we need to prepare for the closure of Yallourn power station. 

“A RepuTex report, commissioned by Environment Victoria, found Victoria can avoid impacts on price or reliability from Yallourn’s closure if we add 600MW of large-scale storage in advance, combined with new renewables projects.

“It’s great to see the Andrews government preparing for the closure of Victoria’s ageing coal power stations, which are the state’s biggest climate polluters and have become increasingly unreliable in summer months.

“This announcement is another example of how the energy transition will bring jobs to regional areas. We’re looking forward to seeing more job-creating climate solutions included in the Victorian budget in November.”

Where possible, local suppliers will be contracted, with AusNet already having sourced the project’s power transformers from Melbourne-based Wilson Transformer Company. 

Local community building and education initiatives will also be supported across the project’s lifetime through a Community Benefit Fund. 

Xavier Barbaro, Neoen’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, “The Victorian Big Battery and the grid support services it will provide heralds a new era for large scale energy storage in Australia. 

“We are fiercely proud to be at the forefront of this vital element of the energy transition. We will continue to build on this experience to deliver world-leading solutions that help to shape and transform the grid of the future for the benefit of industry and consumers across Australia and around the globe.”

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