Meridian Energy will install the standalone 20 MW lithium-ion BESS alongside the 200 GWh Hume Hydroelectric Power Station after the NSW Department of Planning, Infrastructure and Environment approved the project, the first pairing of its kind in Australia.
Meridian Energy CEO Jason Stein said the project, the first battery and hydro power co-location in Australia, will provide a valuable source of dispatchable generation which will help secure energy supply across the grid.
“We congratulate the NSW Government on amending their Infrastructure State Environmental Planning Policy to include standalone battery storage projects such as this and we are pleased to be part of the first project to be given approval under the updated policy,” he said.
The Hume hydro power station is located at the Hume Dam, about 20km upstream from Albury-Wodonga on the NSW/Victoria border and produces approximately 203 GWh of renewable energy each year.
Meridian confirmed the hydro power station has restrictions on the amount of water it can discharge to generate energy and said the proposed BESS will capture energy generated during low demand periods and dispatch this stored energy into the grid when demand increases. Figures published by Meridian suggest the BESS will increase the capacity of the existing hydro power station by 30-35%.
The new battery will be connected to the existing substation via underground cables with electricity transferred to NSW (via Albury) and Victoria (via Wodonga) utilising existing transmission lines.
Stein said the 20 MW/40 MWh battery will not only improve the stability of the grid but will also future proof the hydro power station which was first commissioned in 1957, ensuring it will remain online and in service well into the future.
“Once completed the battery paired with an existing hydro generator … will mean the Hume Power Station can remain online to supply clean, reliable and importantly dispatchable power to meet Australia’s future energy needs,” he said.
“The proposed battery will supply clean, reliable and affordable energy to our customers as well as create jobs for the community.”
NSW Environment minister Matt Kean says the development will add to NSW’s renewable energy mix.
“As renewable energy becomes a greater part of our energy mix, projects like this will help to support the continued growth of our economy by delivering a modern, cheap and reliable energy grid for the people of NSW,” he said.
The project is expected to be completed in December 2021 with Meridian estimating it will contribute $32 million in regional investment and provide more than 50 construction jobs in the region.
Big plans for batteries
The announcement comes less than 24 hours after Cep Energy announced plans for a 1.2 GW megabattery to be installed in the Hunter region of NSW.
CEP Energy announced on Thursday it had signed a 30-year lease agreement with the Hunter Investment Corporation to build a grid-scale battery at Kurri Kurri.
The CEP Energy megabattery joins a growing list of big batteries announced in recent months.
Origin Energy plans to build a 700 MW battery at the site of its Eraring coal generator, also in the NSW Hunter region, while Neoen has filed plans to build a 500 MW big battery west of Sydney, in addition to the 300 MW big battery it is on the verge of constructing outside Geelong in Victoria.
AGL is also busy in the battery storage sector with plans to build a 200 MW grid-scale battery in Victoria’s La Trobe Valley and a 250 MW battery at the site of its Torrens Island Power Station in South Australia.
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