Australia’s largest battery retrofitted to solar farm officially opens

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Australia’s biggest battery integrated with a solar farm is hard at work in North Western Victoria. The 25 MW / 50 MWh Tesla battery was commissioned in November to help address stress points in the electricity network and help integrate new renewable energy into the Victorian grid.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio visited the Gannawarra Energy Storage System outside Kerang on Friday for the official opening and to see the big battery in operation. “Big batteries help to stabilise our power grid and provide much-needed backup power – which is vital to maintaining a reliable and affordable energy supply for Victoria,” she said.

Indeed, the Gannawarra battery provided invaluable power during the extreme heat events of late January, by exporting 80 MWh of stored energy to the grid. The energy storage facility is big enough to power 16,000 households for two hours during peak demand. It is one of Tesla’s biggest batteries in Australia, second only to the 100 MW/129 MWh Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia.

In Victoria, the Gannawarra battery is one of the two big batteries brought online ahead of last summer to help stabilize the grid. The second one is the 30 MW / 30 MWh Ballarat Battery Energy Storage System, supplied by Fluence and owned by AusNet.

The Victorian government invested $25 million into the two big batteries. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) also provided $25 million to co-fund the projects, with close to $20 million sourced from private equity.

“By investing in renewable energy and storage technology, we are continuing to modernise our electricity grid, strengthen our energy security and deliver real action on climate change,” said Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio.

The Gannawarra Tesla battery is owned by Australia’s renewables developer Edify Energy and Germany’s Wirsol. It is operated by EnergyAustralia under a long-term off-take agreement. Although it was commissioned ahead of schedule, Edify Energy and Wirsol said they had to overcome some unique regulatory and technical challenges to deliver the first battery storage system that has been retrofitted to an existing solar farm.