Origin Energy has made the final investment decision to commit approximately $600 million (USD 402 million) to construct the first stage of a large-scale battery energy storage project at the site of its 2,880 MW Eraring power station in the New South Wales (NSW) Hunter Valley as it prepares to exit coal-fired power.
Stage one involves the construction of a 460 MW battery energy storage system with a dispatch duration of two hours. Origin has secured planning approval from the NSW government to increase the overall capacity of the battery up to 700 MW and four hours dispatch duration.
“Approval of the Eraring battery is an important milestone for Origin and another significant step in our strategy to lead the energy transition and accelerate renewable energy and storage in our portfolio,” Origin Chief Executive Officer Frank Calabria said in a statement.
“We are pleased to make this significant capital investment in Origin’s first major battery project to support the growth in renewable energy that’s occurring across the NEM, together with the expansion of our own portfolio of renewable energy developments.”
It is anticipated the energy storage facility will come online in the final quarter of 2025, shortly after the last of the coal-fired generation units at the Eraring power station is scheduled to shut down.
Origin, one of Australia’s largest energy generators and retailers, announced last year that Eraring will be closed in August 2025, seven years earlier than previously scheduled, as the continuing influx of wind and solar power has made the plant uneconomic to run.
Origin’s head of energy supply and operations, Greg Jarvis, said the battery forms part of plans to replace Eraring’s capacity and when developed, it will play an important role in underpinning reliable electricity supply for customers in NSW.
“Eraring is a strategic site with high-quality connection infrastructure enabling us to deliver energy into major demand centres,” he said.
“Development of the Eraring battery is a key next step as we look to transform the Eraring site for the future, given our intention to exit coal-fired generation by as early as August 2025.”
Origin said agreements have been executed for the supply and construction of the battery, with Finnish group Wärtsilä to supply and build the first stage of the battery. Adelaide-headquartered contractor Enerven, a subsidiary of SA Power Networks, has been appointed to provide design and construction services.
The announcement comes as the last three generating units at Liddell power station, also in the Hunter Valley, are being powered down for the final time. Australia’s oldest coal-fired power plant is scheduled to be shut down completely on 28 April.
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