Waratah Super Battery secures final planning approval


Energy storage will play a critical role in the state’s clean energy transition, hence why the New South Wales (NSW) government has granted planning approval for the construction and operation of the 850 MW/1.68 GWh Waratah Super Battery project.

Victorian developer Akaysha Energy, owned by US-based asset manager BlackRock, has already commenced early works after winning the contract to build the battery at the state-owned site of the former 1,400 MW coal-fired Munmorah Power Station, near Doyalson, on the NSW Central Coast.

Akaysha has been contracted to deliver a battery with a guaranteed continuous power capacity of at least 700 MW and a guaranteed useable energy storage capacity of at least 1,400 MWh for the purposes of providing a System Integrity Protection Scheme (SIPS) service.

However, Akaysha has opted to build an even larger battery. The battery energy storage system (BESS) is now expected to have a total capacity of 850 MW/1.68 GWh which allows for degradation of the battery over time to ensure ongoing security of supply. It also allows Akaysha to utilise the excess capacity to tap into additional revenue streams.

The Waratah Super Battery forms part of the state government’s response to the 2022 announcement by Origin Energy that it will bring forward the closure of the 2,880 MW Eraring Power Station to August 2025, seven years earlier than previously scheduled.

The battery is designed to serve as a “shock absorber” for the electricity grid, providing reserve transmission capacity and stability, rather than additional electricity storage capacity. It is intended to allow consumers in the state’s main load centres access to more energy from existing electricity generators while maintaining network security.

NSW Energy Minister Matt Kean announces planning approval for the Waratah Super Battery during a visit to the former Munmorah power station site.

Image: Transgrid

NSW transmission network owner Transgrid said the BESS, which will connect to the grid via a new 330 kV overhead transmission line to the existing Munmorah substation, is expected to be operational by mid-2025 – in advance of Eraring’s expected date of closure.

Transgrid Executive General Manager of Network Marie Jordan said the network operator will coordinate the delivery of the various project components, including the design and installation of the SIPS service to trigger the battery into operation when additional energy is required.

“As part of the project we are carrying out major upgrades to existing transmission lines and substations to enable additional energy to be delivered to consumers,” she said. “We will also develop and operate a $30 million (USD 20.4 million) System Integrity Protection Scheme to control the standby network battery’s activation when additional energy is required, ensuring it can respond almost instantly to any disruptions in the power system.

The Waratah Super Battery is being delivered as a Priority Transmission Infrastructure Project under the Electricity Infrastructure Investment Act 2020.

“We are getting on with the job of delivering this critical infrastructure to ensure a secure, reliable and affordable energy supply to homes and businesses in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong while new renewable energy zones and transmission connections are completed,” Jordan said.

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