The defunct Wallerawang Power Station has moved a step closer to becoming a sustainable energy hub with owner Greenspot lodging a development application and environmental impact statement with the New South Wales (NSW) Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to build an estimated $400 million battery energy storage system (BESS) at the site.
The privately-owned developer is also seeking to build a new transmission line that would connect the big battery to TransGrid’s existing 330 kV Wallerawang substation.
Greenspot, which acquired the former power station site from EnergyAustralia in September 2020, said construction of the energy storage system is expected to begin in early 2022. It is anticipated the big battery, dubbed the Wallerawang 9 Battery, will be fully operational by summer 2023/24, making it one of the earliest examples of how new and sustainable economies can be born from the retirement of coal-fired power stations.
“We’re focused on delivering a shovel-ready site and we are aiming to work with leading energy market players to deliver a successful example of what’s possible as Australia transitions to renewable energy,” Greenspot chief executive officer Brett Hawkins said.
Greenspot, which was established with the objective of repurposing stranded fossil fuel assets, said the big battery is aligned with the state government’s electricity strategy and will provide enabling infrastructure for expanding the renewable energy industry in NSW, particularly in and around the Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone (REZ).
“We’re excited about the project’s potential to deliver storage, firming and other energy services to facilitate the introduction of more renewables into the NSW market,” Hawkins said.
Greenspot said the battery will also be a significant enabler for the transformation of the site into a multi-use hub for industry, providing a stable, reliable and cost-effective energy source for the future redevelopment.
It is anticipated the battery project will require only 40 hectares of the approximately 450ha site, which has sat idle since the coal-fired power station was decommissioned in 2014, with Greenspot aiming to attract industrial, agribusiness and manufacturing businesses, serving to generate sustainable economic activity.
“The lodgement of the development application for the Wallerawang 9 Battery is an important early marker in repurposing the site for the next chapter of success,” Hawkins said.
“There is much at stake as we look to reinstate the power station as the heartbeat of the community here. We’re looking forward to working together with all stakeholders to generate renewed business activity and sustainable employment opportunities for the region.”
The project is the second major battery slated for the region with French renewables developer Neoen earlier this year filing planning documents for a 500 MW/1,000 MWh big battery to be also built at Wallerawang.
Construction of the Great Western Battery is expected to begin in 2022 with Neoen indicating the battery could be operational by 2023.
The lodging of the DA for the Wallerawang 9 Battery follows the recent demolition of two 175 metre chimney stacks and a boiler house at the power station site.
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