Plans unveiled for 600 MW Victoria battery

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Plans for a $300 million battery have been unveiled by the City of Geelong among other ongoing planning applications on the administration’s website. The application for a planning permit was submitted by French renewables developer Neoen with an intention to develop the project dubbed the Victoria big battery.

The 600 MW battery storage facility will provide fast frequency response services to the National Electricity Market (NEM) and be a reserve to augment power supplies in Victoria and provide improved grid reliability, the company said in its application. “Such energy storage facilities can reduce spot price volatility and protect the grid from network disturbances thus improving reliability and potentially reducing power costs,” it added.

As the developer of the world’s largest operating battery – the 100MW/129MWh Tesla big battery in South Australia – officially known as the Hornsdale Power Reserve, Neoen has enjoyed a significant surge in revenues. Frequency control ancillary services (FCAS) provided by the Tesla Big Battery, which is now set for a 50% expansion, contributed most of a 56% leap in revenue banked by Neoen in the final quarter of last year.

In return, only in the first year of operation, the Tesla Big Battery saved almost $40 million (€21.5 million) in grid stabilization costs. But, perhaps the project’s most significant contribution is that it has raised the profile of energy storage and has demonstrated its unique capabilities.  

For its new battery project, Neoen is partnering with Mondo Power, a subsidiary of AusNet Services specialized in commercial and community distributed energy offerings. The project will be located at the AusNet-owned Moorabool terminal station and potentially also feature Tesla batteries. “While Tesla may not be the final equipment provider selected for the project their equipment is considered to be representative for a battery energy storage system of this size,” the application reads.

The project of this size aligns with the Victorian government’s decision to sidestep sections of the rules that govern the operation of the NEM and introduce legislation that will fast-track priority projects like grid-scale batteries and transmission upgrades, as it seeks to make room for more large-scale solar and wind on the grid.

The Victoria big battery joins the ranks of numerous grid-scale battery storage proposals across Australia, hailing the next phase in the modernization of the country’s electricity network. This week alone, the Northern Territory has proposed a $30 million big battery for the Darwin-Katherine grid. On top of that, almost all new grid-scale renewable energy projects in Australia are built as battery-ready.