The Western Downs battery site.

Neoen will be expanding its Western Downs Battery to have a total installed capacity of 270MW/540MWh, which will set up the battery to play an even more central role in Queensland’s rapidly accelerating energy transition.

The extension, growing on the initial plans of 200 MW/400 MWh, will be delivered by Tesla and construction contractor UGL (a member of the CIMIC Group) who commenced construction of the initial stage of the project in January 2023. The project is located on Barunggam country near the town of Chinchilla in South West Queensland. 

Western Downs Battery, consisting of Tesla Megapack 2XL units, leverages the existing infrastructure of Neoen’s Western Downs Green Power Hub. The Hub includes Australia’s largest solar farm at 460MWp capacity, which has recently been commissioned. 

Queensland’s transmission network operator, Powerlink, will be delivering the project’s connection works and a dedicated high-voltage line into the Western Downs substation. The battery is expected to start operating in the summer of 2024-25.

The Western Downs Battery will be capable of performing a range of network services to the Queensland grid, including firming renewables, providing frequency services and transmission network support. 

With support from ARENA’s Large Scale Battery Storage Funding Round, the battery will ultimately be equipped with grid-forming inverter technology allowing it to provide essential system stability services.

Neoen Australia CEO, Louis de Sambucy, said that Neoen is delighted to be expanding the Western Downs Battery, demonstrating its willingness to play an increasingly central role in Queensland’s rapid decarbonisation. 

“We would like to thank Tesla, UGL and Powerlink for their hard work and ongoing commitment to delivering this project,” Mr de Sambucy said. 

“We are thrilled to have big batteries operating or under construction in five Australian states and territories.”

Powerlink Queensland CEO, Paul Simshauser, said that batteries will continue to play a critical role in the changing generation mix as work continues towards a low emissions future. 

“Increasing the capacity of Neoen’s Western Downs Battery to store Queensland’s valuable wind and solar resources will help keep the grid in a secure operating state and offer greater stability to Queenslanders.”

Neoen Chairman and CEO, Xavier Barbaro, thanked the Neoen Australia team for building Queensland’s most powerful battery. 

“It illustrates once more our commitment to accelerating investment in battery storage, with durations that are capable of delivering a wider range of services and solutions,” Mr Barbaro said.  

“A leading player in storage, with deep expertise built across many years, Neoen is unlocking the full potential of renewables. We are proud to be making an increasingly valuable contribution to a clean energy future for Australia and the rest of the world.”

Featured image: The Western Downs Battery site. Image credit: Neoen.

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