EnergyAustralia progresses plans for ‘world’s biggest battery’


EnergyAustralia has called for expressions of interest in the development of the Wooreen Energy Storage System, a 350 MW/1.4 GWh big battery to be built where its Yallourn coal mine and power station are set to close in 2028.

EnergyAustralia has committed to delivering the big battery by 2026, claiming it would be “larger than any battery operating in the world today” – seemingly ignoring the Moss Landing battery in California which recently had a second 100 MW/400 MWh facility added to its main 300 MW/1 GWh first stage system.

By the time the Wooreen battery is constructed it may not even be the largest in Australia given that French renewable energy developer Neoen has announced plans to build a 500 MW/1 GWh big battery west of Sydney and fellow gen-tailer Origin plans to develop a 700 MW/2.4 GWh battery storage system at the site of its Eraring coal generator in the NSW Hunter region.

While the debate about where it sits in the size stakes will continue, EnergyAustralia’s chief operating officer Liz Westcott said the Wooreen big battery, to be co-located with the gen-tailer’s Jeeralang gas-fired power station, would be capable of providing cover for more than 230,000 Victorian households for four hours before being recharged.

“Its quick release during periods of high demand will provide immense value in maintaining supply and keeping costs down for customers,” she said.

The Yallourn Power Station is due to retire in mid-2028.

Image: Energy Australia

Westcott said the Wooreen Energy Storage System is scheduled to be commissioned by the end of 2026, ahead of Yallourn’s closure in mid-2028, with EnergyAustralia to name the engineering, procurement and construction partner in the first quarter of 2023.

“Beginning mid-September, expressions of interest will open for businesses that are able to engineer, procure and construct our new battery storage facility that will become integral to Australia’s modern energy system,” Westcott said.

“Our future preferred contractor will help to maximise local participation within the Latrobe Valley and broader Gippsland region by drawing on the expertise of neighbouring suppliers and construction personnel.”

Having first announced the project in March, EnergyAustralia has been undertaking preliminary feasibility studies that look at technical requirements and potential environmental impacts. The company said planning and environmental investigations will continue through the remainder of the year with a planning application expected to be made to the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning in the first quarter of 2022.

EnergyAustralia currently operates two utility-scale battery storage systems in Victoria, a standalone 30 MW/30 MWh big battery located at the Ballarat terminal station and a 25 MW/50 MWh co-located with the Gannawarra Solar Farm battery.

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