Gannawarra Solar Farm/ Credit: Edify Energy

Gannawarra Solar Farm/ Credit: Edify Energy

Victorian Government building two large-scale batteries under Energy Storage Initiative

The Victorian Government announced today that it will build two large-scale batteries in partnership with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and two consortia of energy companies, as part of its Energy Storage Initiative.

The Initiative was announced in early 2017 to support projects that deliver large-scale energy storage, to enhance the reliability of the grid and unlock economic growth in areas experiencing network constraints.

The batteries will be strategically located and will provide backup power and grid-stabilisation functions. Renewable sources of energy, such as wind or solar, are intermittent. Batteries are required to bridge the gaps in generation and balance supply and demand in electricity grids.

The two projects are being delivered by private consortia led by Edify Energy (Edify)and Spotless Sustainability Services (Spotless). The State Government is providing funding of A$25 million which will be matched by funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

A 25MW / 50MWh Tesla battery – the Gannawarra Energy Storage System (GESS) – will be integrated with the 50MW Gannawarra Solar Farm and the battery will store renewable energy produced on site. Edify and Wirsol Energy will jointly handle the project.

GESS was selected by the Victorian Government under its Energy Storage Initiative to enhance the reliability of the grid in the North West region of Victoria and unlock further economic growth. 

In addition to the funding from ARENA and the Victorian Government Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), the financing of GESS is underpinned by a long-term commercial services agreement with EnergyAustralia, who will operate the battery. EnergyAustralia, one of Australia’s leading energy retailers, is already the long-term offtaker for GSF and it will operate the combined solar farm and battery facility in a coordinated way to better meet the requirements of the Victorian energy market than could be achieved by a stand-alone renewable asset.

When completed, the combined GESS and GSF facility will be the first combined solar and storage facility in Victoria and among the largest in the world. It is expected to lead to a reduction in future system costs by demonstrating integration benefits, deploying battery volume, facilitating learning and sector confidence.

The second consortium comprising Spotless, AusNet Services, EnergyAustralia and Fluence, will construct and operate Victoria’s first utilities scale grid-connected Battery Energy Storage System.

The 30MW/30MWh system will be connected directly to a vital grid intersection at a substation at Warrenheip, near Ballarat.

The system will comprise nine purpose-built and engineered battery enclosures (similar to a standard shipping container) for its Lithium–Ion batteries, operating system and environmental controls, security and associated cooling and safety systems.

Spotless is a leading provider of integrated facilities services in Australia and New Zealand, while AusNet Services owns and operates the Victorian electricity transmission network, one of the five electricity distribution networks and one of the three gas distribution networks in Victoria. Fluence, a Siemens and AES company, is a global energy storage technology solutions and services company.

Spotless Sustainability Services will manage the design and construction of the project. The Battery Energy Storage System will be supplied by Fluence. The system will be an unregulated asset of AusNet Services and will be installed at its Ballarat Terminal Station, which is the central hub for the electricity transmission network in western Victoria. and connected to its electricity transmission network.

After the system has been commissioned and accepted by AusNet Services and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), EnergyAustralia will operate the charge and discharge of the system.

This will be able to deliver crucial power supply, frequency control and related back-up services in milliseconds to maintain stability in the network for Western Victoria.

Planning approval has been granted for the project with construction to commence in March 2018 for completion in November 2018. Both projects are expected to be operational in time for next summer’s peak.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said, “We said we would deliver this for Victoria, and that’s exactly what we’ve done.”

“We are continuing to modernise our electricity grid, strengthen our energy security and deliver real action on climate change.”

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