It seems Australia can’t help but go large! The country already has pole position when it comes to the world’s largest battery storage systems and it’s planning to maintain this lead.
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) announced in November 2020 that it had completed the System Integrity Protection Scheme (SIPS) procurement process for the Victorian government. The AEMO also confirmed that French battery maker Neoen won the contract.
Neoen will team up with Tesla and Ausnet
Neoen will collaborate with Tesla and network partner AusNet Services to develop and deliver the mega-battery. The Paris-based company will also oversee the operation and maintenance.
Neoen’s SIPS contract runs until 2031 and AEMO plans to reserve 250mW of the mega-battery’s 300mW capacity for use in a control scheme. This control scheme is intended to raise the capability of the Victoria to NSW Interconnector (VNI) so it can respond effectively to network outages.
AEMO says that the battery will be able to respond effectively and automatically to power outages, providing more stability to the grid. It’ll also contribute to the National Electricity Market (NEM) and help to promote the penetration of renewables throughout Victoria.
A ‘standout’ proposal
Managing director and CEO of AEMO, Audrey Zibelman, said that there had been a lot of interest in the procurement process and that Neoen’s proposal was the standout one.
The proposal was, according to Zibelman, much more cost-effective and attractive to the market than the other battery developments in Australia.
Neoen Australia managing director, Louis de Sambucy, said that the company was extremely proud to be launching the project, both because of the scale and because it supported Victoria’s clean energy transition.
The Big Battery should come online by November 2021
The Victoria Big Battery is to be installed in Geelong, near the Moorabool Terminal and is expected to go online by November. At twice the size of the 150mW/194mWh Hornsdale Power Reserve in SA, it’ll be the largest battery constricted in Australia so far. It also represents another collaboration between Neoen and Tesla, as the two giants partnered for both stages of Hornsdale.
The mega-battery will use Tesla’s Megapack tech, which is also found in Sydney, in Transgrid’s $44.9 million Wallgrove Grid Battery.
Lily d’Ambrosio, Victoria’s Minister for Energy, said that this ‘humongous’ battery will go a long way towards helping Victoria reach its 2030 target of 50% renewables.
A ‘decisive step away from coal’
The minister went on to describe the battery as a ‘decisive step away from coal-fired power’, as well as a move to embracing new tech that would unlock yet more renewable energy capacity.
Kane Thornton, the Clean Energy Council chief executive, said that the Victoria Big Battery was going to play a big role in Victoria’s move to renewables. Not only would the battery offer important grid support, especially during peaks and outages, said Thornton, but it would bring cheap electricity to consumers.