Stanwell announces new battery as part of state storage blitz


The Queensland Government announced on Thursday the 100 MW/150 MWh Wandoan South Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) project, being developed on the Darling Downs by Singapore-based Vena Energy, is nearing completion with connection to the transmission network now in the final stages.

The government also announced the state-owned energy company Stanwell is progressing plans to develop a 150 MW/300 MWh battery adjacent to the 1.4 GW Tarong Power Station site near Nanango in the South Burnett.

The big battery blitz comes after a turbine failure at the coal-fired Callide Power Station left nearly 500,000 homes and businesses without power for several hours on Tuesday night.

The power outage sparked calls for the introduction of more utility scale batteries capable of providing security for the state’s electricity network and Queensland Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said the government is moving quickly to invest in storage solutions that support the continued uptake of renewables.

“Large-scale battery storage completely changes the game for how our electricity system operates,” he said.

The first of the utility scale batteries to connect to the grid will be the Wandoan South BESS with government-owned transmission service provider Powerlink collaborating with Vena Energy to progress the project. located near Wandoan, 400km north-west of Brisbane.

“The $120 million Wandoan BESS project is the first to connect a large-scale battery directly to the state’s grid,” de Brenni said.

“The battery will have the capacity to power up to 57,000 homes every year, and store 150 MWh of energy, so it’s around 25 times the capacity of the largest battery currently operating in Queensland.”

Powerlink chief executive Paul Simshauser said project works are expected to be completed in the coming months.

“A kilometre of underground transmission cable is being installed to safely and efficiently transfer stored battery power into the grid from the existing Wandoan South Substation,” he said.

“Works at the substation are being completed over various stages to upgrade an existing substation bay so we can accommodate the new battery connection.”

Meanwhile, Stanwell is progressing plans to develop a 150 MW/300 MWh battery alongside the coal-fired Tarong Power Station.

Stanwell acting CEO Adam Aspinall said a feasibility study had confirmed there are commercial opportunities in locating a large-scale energy storage system in southern Queensland and the company is now looking to complete Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) work with a view to reaching a final investment decision in the second half of 2021.

“By locating battery storage at Tarong Power Station, we can capitalise on existing land and connection infrastructure, support the investment in renewables within the region and help maintain system security and reliability,” he said.

It is expected the initial 150 MW battery will commence operation in 2023 while there is potential to increase the battery’s storage capacity for further deployment between 2025 and 2030.

Aspinall said large-scale energy storage will play an important role in Queensland’s future as higher levels of renewable energy enter the system.

“According to the Australian Energy Market Operator’s 2020 Final Integrated System Plan, over 3,600 MW of new large-scale energy storage will be required in Queensland over the next 20 years,” he said.

“Energy storage will be critical as it helps facilitate the integration of renewable energy into the energy system by storing electricity generated by wind and solar and supplying it to the market when required.”.

Aspinall said Stanwell had been investigating energy storage opportunities since early 2018, confirming the company has lodged two connection enquiries with Powerlink for a battery facility at both the Tarong and the Stanwell power station sites.

“As a business, we are investigating a range of future energy solutions to ensure we are in the best position possible to respond to changing market,” he said.

“We are investigating a range of opportunities to incorporate technologies into our asset portfolio, including hydrogen, energy storage, wind, solar and bioenergy.”

The latest announcement adds to a string of proposed big battery developments for Quuensland.

AGL Energy plans to build a 100 MW/150 MWh battery next to the 453 MW Cooper’s Gap wind farm near Kingaroy while Neoen is planning to build 150 MW of battery storage as part of its proposed 460 MW Western Downs Green Power Hub to be constructed near Chinchilla and has also submitted plans to develop a 100 MW battery project in Queensland’s far north.

The Queensland Government has also announced plans to install five large-scale, network-connected batteries, with a combined capacity of 40 MWh in regions across the state as part of a community battery trial.

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