The New South Wales (NSW) Government on Thursday announced that grid-scale battery project developers can now register for an industry market forum and prepare an expression of interest (EOI) for the construction of the 700MW/1400MWh Waratah Super Battery.
The battery, set to be located on the NSW Central Coast, forms part of the state government’s response to last month’s announcement by Origin Energy that it will bring forward the closure of the 2,880MW Eraring Power Station to August 2025, seven years earlier than previously scheduled.
Origin said its decision reflected “the rapidly changing conditions in the national electricity market, which are increasingly not well suited to traditional baseload power stations”.
NSW Treasurer and Energy Minister Matt Kean has admitted the closure will cause problems for the grid if the capacity is not replaced but said the Waratah Super Battery, set to be the largest network standby battery in the southern hemisphere, will help to release grid capacity and secure the state’s energy future.
“There is currently existing generation across NSW that consumers in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong cannot access because of constraints in the transmission network,” he said.
“Currently, power lines must operate well below their capacity so they can handle any sudden shocks, like a power surge from a bushfire or lighting strike.”
The new battery will allow this reserve transmission capacity to be freed up and used to transfer additional energy to consumers from existing generation. It does this by acting as a ‘shock absorber’ for the electricity grid – absorbing any power surge, keeping the transmission system within its technical limits if there is an energy shock.
“The Waratah Super Battery will allow for more electricity to flow through the network, unlocking this excess capacity and supplying the families and businesses of NSW a reliable and stable energy supply,” Kean said.
The Waratah Super Battery, which will be initially funded through a new Transmission Acceleration Facility promised to “fast-track the delivery of critical transmission infrastructure”, is expected to be operational well before the Eraring Power Station is closed in 2025.
The Energy Corporation of NSW (EnergyCo), which was established to oversee the state government’s renewable infrastructure plan, said it is “seeking innovative solutions and site options from the market” to deliver the battery.
The government said it will consider proposals to build the battery on any suitable site, including NSW Government-owned land.
Among the possible locations being suggested for the new battery is the former Munmorah Power Station site next door to the 667MW gas-fired Colongra Power Station near Doyalson on the Central Coast. The former 1.4GW coal-fired power plant was closed in 2012.
EnergyCo will host a virtual Market Forum on 31 March 2022 to provide interested parties with an overview of the project and the competitive battery developer procurement process.
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