Origin bets big on batteries as part of evolution


Origin also revealed it is pursuing opportunities in the green hydrogen sector with plans to establish a 300 MW electrolyser near Townsville in Queensland with production capacity of more than 36,000 tonnes of green hydrogen a year.

During the investor day presentation on Thursday, CEO Frank Calabria said Origin is determined to maximise the opportunities in renewables with the company targeting net zero emissions by 2050.

A key element of the company’s transition strategy is energy storage with Origin eyeing more than 800 MW of battery storage at a handful of sites, including at the nation’s biggest coal generator and a new solar farm in South Australia.

Origin earlier this month submitted plans to build a two-stage, 300 MW solar and battery storage project near Morgan in South Australia. In its application to the State Commission Assessment Panel, Origin said it was seeking consent for Stage 1 of the project, which would install up to 150 MW of solar and 30 MW battery storage of no specified duration.

On Thursday Origin also outlined plans to install big batteries at three of its biggest gas generator plants – up to 300MW at Mortlake in Victoria, up to 200MW at Uranquinty in New South Wales, and an unspecified size on the Darling Downs in Queensland.

Origin is also investigating plans to build a big battery at the 2.88 GW Eraring coal generator which is due to close in 2032. The size of the Eraring battery was yet to be revealed.

Greg Jarvis, Origin’s executive general manager of energy supply and operations, said the company was evolving to better position for increasing renewables with grid operator Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) forecasting in its Integrated System Plan that renewable energy may provide nearly 90% of the nation’s electricity needs by 2035.

AEMO has indicated that large-scale battery energy storage systems, distributed batteries, and virtual power plants will all provide increased dispatchable resources and Jarvis said Origin is actively engaging with government to participate in renewable and firming initiatives.

Hydrogen to get green light

Along with its plans for big batteries, Origin is also focusing on opportunities related to green hydrogen.

The energy utility is working with Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries on a 300 MW project in Townsville and has already completed a feasibility study with engineering and design work expected to begin this financial year.

Origin is also exploring a green hydrogen and ammonia project at Tasmania’s Bell Bay.

The company has launched a $3.2 million feasibility study into building a 500 MW plant capable of producing more than 420,000 tonnes of ammonia per year for the domestic and export markets.

Origin general manager of future fuels, Felicity Underhill, said green hydrogen has tremendous potential.

“Origin has been exploring how hydrogen can best fit into Australia’s energy system and is progressing a number of opportunities,” she said.

“As an integrated energy company operating in key parts of the value chain, Origin is ideally placed to develop large-scale green hydrogen and ammonia projects and connect them to markets, either to stimulate a domestic hydrogen economy or to enable the export of energy produced from renewable sources.”

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