Shell Energy acquired the project from private NSW developer Greenspot, which has already obtained development approval for the battery energy storage system (BESS).
Known as Wallerawang 9, the battery has an approved dispatch capacity of 500 MW and will sit within the Wallerawang power station site where two 500 MW coal-fired generating units were decommissioned in 2014. The BESS will connect to the adjacent 330kV Wallerawang Substation.
As part of the acquisition, Shell Energy will be responsible for the grid connection process and, subject to a final investment decision expected shortly, is planning to build, own and operate the battery on 20 hectares of land to be leased from Greenspot.
A further 200 hectares of the total 620-hectare site has been identified as a potential employment hub and will continue to be managed by Greenspot. The NSW developer aiming to attract industrial, agribusiness and manufacturing to the site as part of its vision of creating a multi-use green precinct in the former fossil-fuel hub.
Before selling the project to Shell, Greenspot had anticipated a staged construction on the $400 million (USD 275 million) battery, beginning in the first half of 2022 with 300 MW of storage capacity before constructing the remaining 200 MW within five years. It is unclear if Shell will follow this timeline, though the company has emphasised the “maturity” of the project.
Wallerawang 9 is the second major battery slated for the NSW region with French renewables developer Neoen in 2021 filing planning documents for another 500 MW / 1000 MWh battery at Wallerawang.
Neoen’s Great Western Battery is proposed at a site not far from the Wallerawang power station and is currently in development with the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment placing the environmental impact statement on public exhibition in March 2022.
Greenspot CEO Brett Hawkins had previously said the Wallerawang 9’s location, on the southeast border of the planned Central West Orana Renewable Energy Zone and connecting to the transmission line linking the zone with the major load centres in Sydney, would be important for firming the nearby renewable generation and stabilising the electricity grid.
Greenspot acquired the Wallerawang power station site from EnergyAustralia in September 2020.
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