RES plans 600 MWh big battery as coal-fired plants exit system


The New South Wales (NSW) government’s plan to bring at least 2 GW of energy storage online by 2030 to replace the state’s ageing coal-fired power generators has received a boost with British developer Renewable Energy Systems (RES) proposing to build a 600 MWh battery energy storage project at Brandy Hill in the Hunter region.

The proposed 250 MW/600 MWh Brandy Hill battery energy storage systems is to be constructed next to network operator Ausgrid’s Brandy Hill substation about 30 kilometres northwest of Newcastle in the Hunter-Central Coast Renewable Energy Zone.

RES said the big battery will fit within the strategic direction of the NSW and Australian energy generation market and assist the transition to an increased contribution of renewable energy to fill the gap created by the planned retirement of the state’s coal-fired generation fleet.

The Hunter and Central Coast is home to four of the state’s five existing coal-fired generators. Four of those power stations are slated to shut down within 15 years, starting with the Liddell Power Station which is to be closed entirely in April.

RES said the Brandy Hill battery would be able to provide the stabilising and other grid benefits that have traditionally been provided by thermal generation.

“The BESS, through its connection to the substation, would provide the ability to charge energy and discharge it to the network at times of peak demand or critical need,” the company said. “It would also have the capacity to charge or discharge when power system services are required to maintain the stability of the broader electricity grid.”

“This will be of particular importance as Australian energy generation transitions from conventional dispatchable thermal generation to 100% non-dispatchable intermittent renewable energy generation.”

RES is currently seeking community feedback on the project as it waits for the NSW Department of Planning and Environment to provide their project specific assessment requirements (SEARs) which will inform the required environmental impact statement (EIS). It is anticipated that the application and approval processes will commence in April.

The company is targeting start of construction of the Brandy Hill battery in 2025 with commissioning and operation to begin in 2027.

The Brandy Hill battery is the latest big battery proposal announced by RES. The developer also plans to build a 400 MW/1200 MWh battery storage facility as part of a renewable energy hub being developed near Stawell in western Victoria.

Plans for the Watta Wella Renewable Energy Hub include a three-hour big battery, a 62.5 MW solar farm and a 315 MW wind farm. Both the solar farm and the big battery would be located close to the existing Bulgana substation.

RES has also announced plans to include a “containerised battery energy storage system” of unspecified capacity as part of the Tarong West Wind Farm project being developed near Kingaroy in central Queensland.

Those projects are part of RES’ burgeoning Australian portfolio. The developer, which entered the Australian market in 2004, said it manages a portfolio of 3 GW of renewable assets in Australia including 1.4 GW of solar facilities. This includes the 68 MW Emerald Solar Park in Queensland and the 100 MW Merredin Solar Farm in Western Australia. Its Australian wind assets include the Murra Warra and Ararat wind farms in Victoria.

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