More big batteries on the way in 2018

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Since coming online on December 1, the 100 MWh li-ion battery paired with the Hornsdale wind farm in South Australia has already proved its worth in responding to a temporary outage of a coal-fired facility on the NEM.

French energy developer Neoen, which delivered the Hornsdale project in partnership with Tesla, has already signed a further deal with the Victoria Government, which will see the installation of a 20 MWh Tesla battery, in conjunction with a wind project, which will primarily provide power to a massive agricultural project, feeding excess energy into the grid.

In addition, reports have emerged that a further battery installation, potentially even larger than the Hornsdale project, could be delivered to Queensland. Speaking to Bloomberg earlier this week, Neoen CEO Garth Heron stated that the success of the project in South Australia “really opened up our thinking with regard to large-scale storage” and that “we are looking to do a very large battery, as there is a lot of need for energy storage up in Queensland.”

Further details of the Queensland battery have not yet been made available, however it will most likely be co-located with the Kaban Green Power Hub, a wind project being developed by Neoen at a site 80 km outside of Cairns. While Tesla worked with Neoen in South Australia, and is again providing its battery technology for the smaller project in Victoria, the company at this stage has made no comment on whether it plans to work with the French developer again.

Speaking to pv magazine Australia, the CEO of Smart Energy Council John Grimes said that there is a strong pipeline of large scale storage projects, to be linked to renewable generation throughout the NEM.

“There is 1 GW of capacity that is being proposed,” said Grimes, “if the policy conditions are right, there is now reason that it won’t online between now and 2020.”

While we can expect to see storage projects get bigger and bigger over the coming years, it could be a while before the installation speed of the Hornsdale storage project is matched – Neoen’s installation in Victoria is expected to be finished in 2019.