Victoria unveils first grid-scale battery

Friday, 26 October, 2018

Victoria unveils first grid-scale battery

Victoria’s first big battery has been unveiled in Ballarat, and is designed to support the state’s energy grid in summer.

Big battery storage allows energy from wind and solar farms to be stored so it can provide power during peak times.

Located at the Ballarat terminal station, the 30 MW/30 MWh Ballarat Energy Storage System (BESS) is a lithium-ion, large-scale battery that will be capable of providing power to over 20,000 homes for an hour before being recharged.

Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the Victorian Government said the battery will be able to respond to changing grid needs within milliseconds.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) said it aims to demonstrate how batteries can help provide grid stability and support on a congested transmission terminal, at a critical location, reducing the need to expand the substation.

The battery is in the final testing phase, but will be connected to the grid in time for summer. Supplied by Fluence, it will be owned by AusNet Services and operated by EnergyAustralia.

The BESS is the first of two large-scale grid-connected batteries to be commissioned in Victoria as part of the Victorian Government’s $50 million energy storage initiative. The second is the 25 MW/50 MWh Gannawarra battery system, co-located at the 60 MW Gannawarra Solar Farm. This will be constructed and owned by Edify and Wirsol, supplied by Tesla and operated by EnergyAustralia. It is also expected to be ready for summer.

“As we have seen with the success of large-scale batteries in South Australia, grid-scale batteries have an important role to play in providing short-term energy storage and providing rapid response injections of power to help stabilise the grid,” said ARENA CEO Darren Miller.

He explained the Ballarat battery “will help to ease constraints on transmission lines in Western Victoria that currently curtail the output of wind and solar, while also helping to bring in more renewables to the grid”.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said: “This is part of our plan to transition to a more affordable, reliable and clean energy system.

“We’re modernising our electricity grid, strengthening our energy security and delivering real action on climate change.”

According to Dean Rizzetti, Public Policy and Advocacy Manager at Environment Victoria, it is “the next logical step in the process of cleaning up Victoria’s power grid”. He said political parties that stand up for cheap, clean energy are more likely to gain support in the upcoming Victorian election.

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