Wednesday, January 20, 2021
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NSW coal-fired power plant chosen as site of Australia’s biggest battery | Energy

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Two new large-scale batteries that would be Australia’s biggest battery storage projects are proposed in New South Wales in a bid energy analysts say will accelerate the state’s energy transition.

Origin Energy is moving forward with its plans for a 700MW battery at its Lake Macquarie Eraring power station, which the company said would be the largest battery project currently under consideration in Australia.

French energy giant Neoen also submitted a scoping report to the NSW government before Christmas for a 500MW storage project near the site of the former Wallerawang power station near Lithgow.

Origin said if it proceeds with the project its battery would have a dispatch duration of four hours and would be developed in three phases, with the first phase expected to be reached in late 2022.

Greg Jarvis, the company’s executive general manager for energy supply and operations, said it would support Origin’s transition out of coal-fired generation by 2032 and was consistent with the energy plan passed by the NSW parliament late last year.

“We recognise we have an important role to play in positioning Origin’s electricity generation portfolio to support Australia’s rapid transition to renewables,” he said.

“A large-scale battery at Eraring will help us better support renewable energy and maintain reliable supply for customers, by having long duration storage ready to dispatch into the grid at times when renewable sources are not available.”

The NSW environment and energy minister, Matt Kean, said the batteries were an endorsement of the government’s clean energy roadmap.

“Batteries and pumped hydro are the best way to firm up renewables and these batteries will make a massive difference in addressing the gap following Liddell’s closure,” Kean said.

“It’s great to see Origin and Neoen embracing the future.”

Tristan Edis, director at Green Energy Markets, said energy companies had “seen the writing on the wall” and were adapting to the state’s plan to underwrite the private sector in building 12GW of solar and wind energy.

“The NSW government has shown they’re serious about transforming their electricity sector with modern technology that’s going to replace coal,” he said.

“The amount of renewable energy coming through in the next 12 to 24 months is going to make it difficult for a number of the coal generators to remain profitable.”

He said the potential early closure of coal-fired power stations would create a need for dispatchable capacity during a four-hour window from about 4pm to 8pm that could be met by batteries.

“It’s important not to exaggerate the gap,” he said.

“These battery proposals are the private sector seeing an opportunity there and also responding to the NSW government’s new infrastructure roadmap legislation.”

Neoen’s proposed project, which it calls the Great Western Battery, would form part of the Central-Orana renewable energy zone.

According to the company’s scoping report, the project would help the state’s energy transition and build “resilience” into the energy network.

“Neoen believe that the provision of the physical infrastructure to store electricity is a critical first step to supporting the investment in and development of renewable energy solutions for NSW,” the report says.

The study states that the storage capacity of the proposed battery would “allow for increased installation of renewable energy while maintaining network security and reliability”.



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