Maoneng lodges application for 225 MW/450 MWh big battery


Maoneng Australia has filed its development application for the $112.5 million Gould Creek battery storage project in South Australia, declaring the utility scale battery will aid the increasing penetration of renewables in the grid and provide stability for the energy market.

The developer has commenced the project’s notification period with the submission of its development application with the state government’s State Commission Assessment Panel (SCAP).

The application proposes the construction of a 225 MW/450 MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) on a 30-hectare site at Gould Creek, about 20 kilometres north of Adelaide’s city centre.

The Gould Creek BESS project, which would eclipse the recently expanded 150 MW/194 MWh ‘Tesla Big Battery’ known officially as the Hornsdale Power Reserve, will comprise approximately 240 shipping containers.

Maoneng has not yet provided details about the chemistry of the batteries it intends to build but said the BESS will be capable of providing enough energy to support up to 40,000 households at peak hours.

An operations and maintenance building will also be constructed on the secured  site alongside a 33/220 kV substation.

The Gould Creek project will connect to the high voltage 275 kV transmission grid via ElectraNet’s existing Para Substation, located less than 100 metres away from the proposed construction site.

The project, which is scheduled for completion in 2023, has already received in principle support from the state government with Department for Energy and Mines chief executive Paul Heithersay writing that the development can be considered “essential infrastructure” and has the potential to benefit South Australia.

The Gould Creek BESS is to be constructed alongside the existing Para Substation.

Image: Maoneng

The development application report, prepared by engineering and energy consultancy firm GHD, stresses that the project will be critical to ensuring the stability of the grid as it transitions to renewable energy.

“The proposed BESS represents a critical electrical infrastructure to the state,” the application documents read.

“As South Australia transitions to a greater share of intermittent renewable energy sources, grid stability facilities such as grid-scale batteries are required to ensure the safe and reliable provision of electricity.

“The system will support the safe and efficient operation of South Australia’s energy grid.”

The Gould Creek BESS is another addition to the growing list of big batteries in the pipeline for the National Electricity Market (NEM), including a 250 MW/250 MWh battery being constructed by energy giant AGL at the site of its coal-fired Torren Island Power Station in South Australia.

Data supplied by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) shows that financial commitments for new utility-scale battery projects in Australia increased four-fold between Q4 2020 and Q1 2021, from 150 MW to 600 MW in the first three months of this year.

As well as those projects to have reached financial close, the CEC said at least 15 other large-scale battery storage projects have been announced this year, representing more than 6.6 GW of capacity and $4.3 billion in investment.

That number is likely to increase with the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) proposing a new rule in April to bring new, ultra-fast frequency services into the NEM, services that will come largely from batteries.

The Gould Creek project builds on Maoneng’s Australian portfolio which includes a deal to develop four large-scale batteries, each 50 MW/100 MWh in capacity in New South Wales (NSW), for energy giant AGL.

The deal includes a 15-year contract that will allow AGL to call on capacity from the batteries at a fixed price. The batteries are expected to be installed by 2023.

That project adds to the 300 MW Solar Offtake deal Maoneng signed with AGL in December 2017 by which AGL sources energy from, among other solar projects, the 200 MW Sunraysia Solar Farm in south-west NSW.

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