South Australia’s third big battery energized

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Infigen Energy’s utility-scale energy storage facility near its Lake Bonney wind farm in South Australia has become the latest big battery in Australia’s main grid to enter the commissioning phase. The 25 MW/52 MWh battery system, which uses Tesla Powerpack technology, has also been registered with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and is expected to be commissioned by the end of the year.

More than four months after construction was completed, the battery powered up in early October, as revealed in the developer’s monthly report filed to the ASX. The storage system is collocated with the 278 MW Lake Bonney wind complex, which in September had an output of 50 GWh, down from 63 GWh generated a year before, finds the report without stating the reason that led to lower production.

The $38 million battery project was delivered with the help from the South Australian Government and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), with each providing $5 million in grant funding. As stated earlier, the storage system allows Infigen to firm at least an additional 18 MW of power depending on the customer load profile.

“With the firming capability of the BESS (battery energy storage system) Infigen will be able to expand its supply contracts from the Lake Bonney Wind Farm to additional commercial and industrial customers in South Australia, which is at the heart of our business strategy,” Ross Rolfe, Chief Executive Office of Infigen, said earlier.

The battery will also deliver flexible capacity and system security services, such as Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS), to the electricity grid in South Australia. Once fully commissioned, the Lake Boney system will become the third big battery on the state grid and the second one using Tesla Powerpack technology. The first Tesla big battery is a 100/129 MWh system installed at the Hornsdale wind farm, while the 30 MW/8 MWh Dalrymple grid-scale battery collocated with the 90 MW Wattle Point wind farm on the Yorke Peninsula powered up in January.

South Australia’s battery pipeline has grown to be quite impressive following a slew of proposals for mega-projects. These include as Neoen’s projects at Crystal Brook ( 125 MW of wind, 150 MW of solar PV and 130 MW/400 MWh of lithium-ion battery storage) and South Goyder (1200 MW of wind, 600 MW of solar and 900 MW of battery storage), Sanjeev Gupta’s 120 MW/140 MWh battery project, announced as part of its 1 GW dispatchable renewable energy program, the Solar River project featuring 100MW/300MWh big battery alongside a 200 MW PV plant, and the list goes on.