NSW utility-scale battery pipeline takes shape under government funding program

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The funding streams announced as part of the $75 million NSW Emerging Energy Program, which encourages private sector investment in cutting edge large-scale electricity and storage projects, have unveiled a number of project proposals spread across seven locations, including Broken Hill, Yass and Armidale. Looking to ensure the state’s energy security and orderly energy transition, the NSW government is looking at 31 dispatchable electricity projects, including 14 big batteries.

As announced on Monday, some 2,150 MW of energy storage projects have been awarded a total of $7.1 million for pre-investment studies. Those on-demand electricity projects have the potential to leverage almost $2 billion in private investment.

Among the projects receiving grants of up to $500,000 for feasibility studies, the number of pumped hydro projects and big batteries is equal, with the former far exceeding in terms of capacity. The biggest among the big batteries is Renew Estate’s 250 MW facility at the Buronga Energy Park near Mildura, which is planned to be collocated with a solar farm.

Applicant companyProject titlePrimary project technologyDispatchable electricity capacityLocation (closest town)
Hydrostor AustraliaBroken Hill Compressed Air Energy StorageCompressed Air Energy Storage200 MWBroken Hill
Renew EstateBuronga Energy Park BatteryBattery250 MWMildura
Meridian EnergyBurrinjuck Hydro Energy Storage ProjectPumped Hydro50 MWYass
Solar Analytics Pty LtdConsumer-led Distributed Energy projectVirtual Power Plant20 MWVarious locations
Progressive Renewable DevelopmentsDeepwater Solar and Battery StorageBattery20 MWDeepwater
Walcha EnergyDungowan Dam Pumped HydroPumped Hydro500 MWTamworth
UPC/AC Renewables AustraliaNew England Pumped HydroPumped Hydro400 MWArmidale
OMPS Pty Ltd (with Alinta Energy)Oven Mountain Pumped Hydro StoragePumped Hydro600 MWArmidale
Walcha EnergyUralla Renewable Energy Hub BatteryBattery100 MWArmidale
Firm PowerWestern Sydney Smart BatteryBattery10 MWSydney

On the list of capital projects which have been shortlisted for funding and progressed to the full application stage, big batteries are overwhelmingly dominant. A total of 21 projects were shortlisted for capital funding across six technologies, including pumped hydro, gas, biogas, solar thermal, virtual power plants and batteries, accounting for more than 700 MW of on-demand electricity capacity. Ten of those projects are big batteries with the accumulative capacity in excess of 310 MW.

With NSW lagging behind other states in the uptake of big batteries, some of the projects in the table below could become the first utility-scale batteries on the state grid. For instance, one of the shortlisted projects is a 50 MW battery at AGL’s 53 MW Broken Hill Solar Farm, which was recently exposed to drastic curtailment amid voltage fluctuations in the NSW 220 kV network.

Other utility-scale batteries are proposed to be collocated with existing wind or solar farms, including Maoeng’s 50 MW solar battery, Edify Energy’s 25 MW Darlington solar battery and CWP Renewables’ 30 MW Sapphire wind battery, which will be part of a renewable energy hub with an approved solar component. Further projects include network operator Transgrid’s 50 MW battery, RES Australia’s 40 MW battery and a number of smaller systems of 10-20 MW. 

The successful recipients of the capital grants will be announced in the first half of 2020.

Applicant companyProject titlePrimary project technologyDispatchable electricity capacityLocation (closest town)
Meridian Energy AustraliaHume Hydro power station battery energy storage systemBattery20 MWLake Hume Village
Teys AustraliaWagga Low Emissions Energy HubBiogas8 MWBomen
Flow PowerCorporate Virtual Power PlantVirtual Power Plant20 MWVarious locations
AGL Energy LimitedBroken Hill BatteryBattery50 MWBroken Hill
Smart RenewablesSouthern NSW commercial and residential virtual power plantVirtual Power Plant5 MWBatemans Bay
sonnen AustraliaRegional NSW virtual power plantVirtual Power Plant27.6 MWVarious locations
RES AustraliaNewcastle Battery Energy Storage SystemBattery40 MWNewcastle
Maoneng AustraliaSunraysia EmporiumBatteryAt least 50 MWBalranald
TransGridNSW Grid BatteryBattery50 MWWestern Sydney
Reef AustraliaBio-ethanol gas for industrial user at ColeamballyBiogas5 MWColeambally
Hivve TechnologySustainable SchoolsVirtual Power Plant5 MWVarious locations
Origin EnergyExpansion of Shoalhaven Pumped HydroPumped Hydro235 MWKangaroo Valley
Edify EnergyDarlington Point Energy Storage SystemBattery25 MWDarlington Point
RayGen ResourcesRayGen’s Solar Power PlantSolar Concentrated Photovoltaic with Integrated Electro-Thermal Storage5 MW
Endeavour EnergyWestern Sydney renewable energy and load managementVirtual Power Plant10 MWVarious locations
Goldwind AustraliaHybrid ProjectGas72 MW
CWP RenewablesThe Sapphire Battery FarmBattery30 MWGlen Innes
Not disclosedRiverina Region battery energy storage systemBattery10 MW
Bomen Solar Farm Pty LtdBomen Solar Farm Battery Energy Storage SystemLithium-ion battery10.3 MWWagga Wagga
UPC Renewables AustraliaNew England batteryBattery25 MWUralla
Centennial NewstanNewstan Colliery pumped hydro storagePumped Hydro8.5 MWFassifern