Engie begins construction of 150 MW big battery at Hazelwood site


With energy storage set to play a key role in Australia’s transition from fossil fuels to renewables, Engie has teamed with the green investment arm of asset manager Macquarie Group to build a 150 MW/150 MWh big battery at the site of the former Hazelwood power station in Victoria’s Latrobe valley.

Engie announced on Wednesday that construction of the Hazelwood Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) has commenced and network connection agreements are already in place, with the battery scheduled to be operational by November 2022.

The project, with an estimated cost of $150 million, has been funded by Engie and Macquarie’s Green Investment Group (GIG) and will be built, operated and maintained by United States-based energy storage firm Fluence Energy, a joint venture between German electronics group Siemens and American power generator AES, under a 20-year contract.

The battery, which will connect to existing network infrastructure, is set to provide one hour of energy storage but the expectation is that the facility will be expanded in the future with the former power station site having access to 1.6 GW of dormant transmission capacity.

Engie and Macquarie said the design of the first stage of the battery, being built at the site of the former Hazelwood coal-fired generator which shuttered in 2017, and the site’s attributes provide the flexibility to “quickly and cost-effectively” scale up storage capacity to meet future network and market demand.

The companies said the Hazelwood battery will participate in the frequency control ancillary service (FCAS) markets, delivering stability to a grid increasingly comprised of renewable sources and playing a key role in accelerating the build-out of solar and wind resources.

“The Hazelwood Battery Energy Storage System … will play a critical role in increasing renewable energy capacity in Victoria, while delivering further grid stability for the state,” the companies said in a statement.

It will support the transition to green energy and help “ensure that electricity networks are resilient, reliable and flexible”, Greg Callman, the global head of energy technology at GIG, said.

An artist’s impression of the Hazelwood Battery Energy Storage System.

Image: Fluence

The project will be the first in Australia to use Fluence’s Gridstack battery system, incorporating 342 modular Fluence Cubes, a standardised enclosure that houses battery modules as well as inverters, transformers, switchgear and other plant equipment and integrated edge controls software.

The system will be coupled with Fluence’s AI-enabled IQ Application to optimise the bidding of the Hazelwood battery capacity in the National Electricity Market (NEM).

“The Hazelwood battery will be the product of Fluence’s latest generation technology, supported by our rapidly growing team in Victoria and the most widely adopted automated trading platform available in Australia today,” Fluence Australia general manager Aaron McCann said.

The project builds on Engie’s Australian portfolio which includes 1.1 GW of operating gas-fired power plants, 165 MW of operating wind farms and a 2 GW pipeline of solar, wind and large-scale batteries under development.

The Hazelwood battery is the latest utility scale batteries to be unveiled in the Latrobe Valley with AGL announcing last week it had received approval for a 200 MW/800 MWh energy storage system to be developed at the site of its coal-fired Loy Yang power station.

Earlier this year EnergyAustralia announced plans to build a four-hour 350 MW capacity big battery at the site of the Yallourn coal-fired power station which is set to be retired by mid-2028.

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