US giant BlackRock commits $1 billion to big battery developments in Australia


Investment company BlackRock has today announced it intends to commit over $1 billion (AUD) to support the build out of over 1 GW of battery storage assets. 

The fit out is part of Akaysha Energy’s portfolio of nine projects in Australia, now owned by BlackRock.

The acquisition is the first battery storage investment made by BlackRock’s Climate Infrastructure business – part of BlackRock Real Assets – in the Asia-Pacific region.

The BlackRock and Akaysha Energy teams

Image: BlackRock

Established just last year, Akaysha Energy’s portfolio includes the 150 MW / 300 MWh Ulinda Park battery project in Queensland’s Western Downs region west of Brisbane, as well as the Palmerston Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) in Tasmania, which will use grid forming inverter technology to offer Virtual Synchronous Machine services to the Tasmanian network.

Akaysha is also planning to deploy a large-scale battery near Wellington in central-west New South Wales, known as the Orana BESS, part of the state’s first Renewable Energy Zone (REZ). The battery will have a capacity of between 200 MW to 400 MW and provide up to eight hours (1600 MWh) of energy storage.

In terms of how developed these projects are, Akaysha says the Queensland Ulinda Park battery has received Development Approval from the local council and is currently progressing grid connection, as is also the case with the Tasmania Palmerston BESS. The Orana BESS is still completing its community consultations and environmental surveys for planning approval.

Akaysha’s six other projects under development have not yet been made public.

“By tapping into BlackRock’s global capabilities and track record in climate infrastructure, we’re excited to fulfil our ambitions in accelerating the installation of utility-scale energy storage technologies that will mitigate the variability of renewable generation and deliver grid reliability and resilience to power system networks across Asia-Pacific,” Akaysha’s managing director Nick Carter said. 

Akaysha’s longer-term plans include developing storage projects in other Asia-Pacific markets, with a near-term focus on Japan and Taiwan. Akaysha also has plans to add adjacent opportunities, including developing green hydrogen assets, to its portfolio.

BlackRock’s co-head of Climate Infrastructure for the Asia Pacific region, Charlie Reid, said the roll out of storage assets is especially critical as coal-fired power stations continue to retire earlier than expected. “For our clients, we see tremendous long-term growth potential in the development of advanced battery storage assets across Australia and in other Asia-Pacific markets and look forward to working with Akaysha to ensure an orderly transition to a cleaner and secure energy future,” Reid said.

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