French renewable and storage developer, Neoen, is all set to start construction on its 100 MW / 200 MWh Capital Battery after it announced it has been “provided notice to proceed from battery storage experts Doosan.”
Neoen is presumably referring here to Doosan GridTech, the energy storage subsidiary of South Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction, a partner on the project.
Having previously worked with Tesla on its Australian big battery projects, Neoen now seems to be expanding its horizons. It is not clear what brand of battery Doosan will use for the Capital Battery, though the company seems to favour Samsung’s lithium-ion, though it has previously developed projects using battery technology from CATL, LG Chem, and even vanadium redox flow batteries.
The Capital Battery
The battery is expected to start operating in the first half of 2023, and is being build next to TransGrid’s Queanbeyan substation, through which it will link to Transgrid’s transmission network.
Not to be confused with the planned 250 MW Big Canberra Battery, for which the government is yet to announce a developer, the Neoen’s Capital Battery came about after the developer won the ACT Government’s 2020 renewable energy auction, in which it was awarded a 14-year contract to supply 100 MW of wind energy from Stage 1 of Goyder Renewables Zone, including plans for a 50 MW battery. The storage component of the plan later doubled to the 100 MW capacity it has today “in response to the emerging market for battery services,” Neoen said.
“The doubling of battery capacity to 100 MW is a great commitment and indicates the confidence in the market and the important role of batteries in modernising and stabilising the electricity network,” ACT Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Shane Rattenbury, said in a statement on the news.
Also noteworthy is the fact the Capital Battery will have a two hour duration, Neoen’s longest for an Australian storage project to date (though it will likely only hold this position for a limited time).
Neoen all charged up
It’s been a massive week for Neoen, which owns or is developing the biggest pipeline of utility-scale batteries in Australia by a long shot. The company officially switched on its 300 MW / 450 MWh Victorian big battery in Geelong last Wednesday, and on the very same day announced plans for 300MW and 800MWh battery in Blyth, north of Adelaide.
The Capital Battery takes Neoen’s Australian battery storage portfolio to 576 MW in operation or under construction, bringing the company a step closer to its goal of having at least one large-scale battery operating in each state of Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM). The company has crossed the halfway threshold to that goal now, with batteries in three of the five NEM states.
Neoen’s global pool of storage assets sits today at over 700 MW, the vast majority of which are in Australia.
Capital Battery community co-investment scheme
While the Capital Battery will continue to be owned and operated by Neoen, which has successfully used this model for its South Australian Hornsdale Power Reserve and now with its Victorian Big Battery, the company said once Capital Battery is operational, it plans to launch a “Community Co-investment Scheme” to provide residents of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) the opportunity to become financial stakeholders in the project.
Precisely what such a scheme will look like is not yet clear though.
What is clear is that the ACT government, one of the country’s most progressive in terms of clean energy, is eager to install battery storage.
In January, it announced $100 million would be spent in the next five financial years to deliver what is to be known as the Big Canberra Battery. In April, it put its pitch to suppliers and received 42 submissions, most of which came from Australian companies.
The government is yet to announce its pick, but has previously said it hopes to begin construction on the 250 MW (duration yet to be finalised) Big Canberra Battery in 2022 – 2023.
In May, the territory also energised a 2.5 MW/5 MWh front-of meter Tesla Megapack battery developed by Australia’s Elvin Group. It’s the first battery installation in Australia to supplement an urban power supply at scale, and was developed in line with the needs of ACT network distributor Evoenergy.
In 2020, the ACT reached its goal of being 100% powered by renewable electricity. It aims to reach net zero emissions by 2045.
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