AGL continues march towards 850 MW of large-scale battery storage


Having announced in 2020 its commitment to build 850 MW of battery-based assets by 2024, Australia’s largest power producer confirmed on Thursday that Fluence and Finnish company Wärtsilä had been secured under non-exclusive framework agreements to supply up to 1 GW of large-scale battery storage.

AGL chief operating officer Markus Brokhof said Fluence and Wärtsilä were chosen through a competitive tender process for their capability, experience and pricing as well as their alignment with AGL’s strategic objectives.

“This framework agreement is another example of AGL getting on with the business of energy transition and will enable delivery against our commitment to build 850 MW of grid-scale battery storage by FY2024,” Brokhof said.

“Wärtsilä and Fluence are both global leaders in energy storage technologies, ensuring we are investing in the highest standards for performance, reliability and safety.

“We are already well advanced with our planning process and these framework agreements will reduce tender timeframes for individual projects, enabling faster project schedules and commercial operation.

“We’re excited to see our grid-scale battery plans begin to come to life.”

Brokhof said AGL has been Australia’s largest private investor in renewables and is now leading in the development of storage technology such as batteries, ranging in size from grid-scale to residential.

The energy giant has already laid out plans for the deployment of around 1.2 GW of utility-scale batteries across multiple locations, including a 250 MW, four-hour-duration battery system to be built at the site of its Torrens Island power station in South Australia.

AGL has also announced plans to build utility-scale batteries at Loy Yang A power station in Victoria (200MW) and Liddell power station (150MW) and Broken Hill (50MW) in New South Wales. Previously announced battery projects include Wandoan (100 MW) in Queensland, Maoneng (4 x 50 MW) in NSW, and Dalrymple (30 MW) in South Australia.

“We know energy storage technology is critical in creating cleaner and smarter distributed energy infrastructure,” Brokhof said.

“Our grid-scale battery plans provide critical firming capacity to the market and will play a leading role in the energy industry’s transition over the coming decades.”

Fluence vice president of global markets, Jan Teichmann, said AGL was taking battery-based energy storage in Australia to the next level and the proposed projects would deliver large-scale flexibility critical to the National Electricity Market (NEM).

“Australia’s grid is evolving quickly and batteries can fill critical gaps left by coal and gas retirements, both the super-fast services needed to strengthen the grid and as a source of peak power,” he said.

“The next few years will be pivotal for Australia’s transition towards a more decarbonized grid, and AGL is starting at the scale of the challenge: supporting the NEM’s shift to a higher percentage of renewables with large-scale flexibility.”

Thursday’s agreement with AGL is not Fluence’s first foray into the grid-scale battery storage market in Australia.

In 2018 the United States-based company successfully secured interconnection for the 30 MW/30 MWh solution deployed at AusNet Services’ Ballarat Terminal Station in Victoria.

The AGL agreement follows a period of significant growth for Fluence, a Siemens and AES company. In December, the United States-based outfit secured a commitment from the Qatar Investment Authority to invest US$125 million in the company, and in October, Fluence announced its acquisition of software developer Advanced Microgrid Solutions.

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