Privately owned development company Greenspot has confirmed that the New South Wales (NSW) Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) has approved the 500 MW/1,000 MWh Wallerawang 9 Battery energy storage project to be built near Lithgow in the state’s Central Tablelands region.
The estimated $400 million project is to be developed across a 40-hectare plot at the site of the shuttered Wallerawang power plant which has sat idle since it was decommissioned in 2014. The battery, which has an approved dispatch capacity of 500 MW, providing firming capacity to power up to 187,000 homes, will connect to the National Electricity Market (NEM) via Transgrid’s existing 330 kV Wallerawang Substation which is adjacent to the site.
In announcing its decision, the Department of Planning said the battery would be constructed over approximately 12 to 24 months. Construction is expected to be staged with the first stage likely to comprise 300 MW of storage capacity with the second 200 MW to be constructed within five years.
Greenspot chief executive officer Brett Hawkins said securing development approval is an important milestone not only for the project but for NSW’s energy future with the battery to play a “critical role” in supporting the transition of the state’s energy sector away from coal-fired power to renewable energy generation such as wind and solar.
Hawkins said there is an increasing need for battery storage to firm renewable energy sources and the battery’s location, on the southeast border of the planned Central West Orana Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) and adjacent to the main transmission line linking the zone with the major load centres in Sydney, would help unlock new wind and solar capacity and stabilise the electricity grid.
“The Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone is expected to unlock 3 GW of wind and solar generation by the mid-2020s,” he said. “We have secured an approval for a major energy storage project here at Wallerawang which can play a role in making that a reality.
“We intend to team up with leading energy market players to move through the grid connection, financing and construction phases and ultimately to operation in the National Electricity Market.”
Greenspot has previously said it expects the battery to be operational by summer 2023/24 with a final investment decision anticipated later this year.
The Wallerawang 9 Battery project is the first project to be approved as part of Greenspot’s plans to transform the 620-hectare Wallerawang power plant site into a multi-use precinct including an employment enterprise area for a range of industries.
“The greater Lithgow region has contributed to powering NSW for nearly 70 years. The Wallerawang 9 Battery is a signal of the significance of the area’s potential contribution in the future,” Hawkins said.
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