5 MW battery storage launches in Alice Springs

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The Alice Springs big battery has been officially launched, marking an important step in ensuring reliability in a transition to renewable energy for the Northern Territory. 

The 5 MW system, which has 40 minutes of storage capability, will provide a near-instantaneous response to variations in solar load, particularly during cloud cover, and it will improve power generation reliability for the region.

The battery has already provided power into the grid through its rigorous testing and by the end of November it will be fully integrated into the Alice Springs power system, the NT government said in a statement.

The system was delivered by Auckland-based Vector using LG Chem batteries, after it won a multi-million-dollar contract in a competitive tender mid-last year.

The tender was originally launched a year earlier in response to grid management issues that Territory Generation had due to a high solar penetration in Alice Springs.

Territory Generation Chief Executive Officer Tim Duignan said the system will enable greater uptake of solar in Alice Springs, which already has the highest solar penetration in Australia – making it the solar capital of Australia.

“Reliability and stability of base load power is a critical barrier in the uptake of renewable energy across Australia, and I am pleased that we are at the forefront of tackling this issue right here in Alice Springs,“ he said.

The 5 MW battery is also a critical piece of infrastructure to support the Northern Territory Government’s Roadmap to Renewables strategy, with target of 50% renewable energy by 2030 and a plan to replace its gas powered peaker fleet with solar and large-scale battery storage.

“The Territory Labor Government’s number one priority is creating local jobs. Delivering 50% renewables by 2030 will deliver local jobs, and cheaper, cleaner power,” Minister for Renewables and Essential Services Dale Wakefield said at today’s launch.

It is projected that the $8.3 million investment for the battery system will be recouped in four to five years due to efficiency improvements.