Green light for two new big batteries in NSW

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Sydney-based battery developer Firm Power has been granted development approval for the proposed Muswellbrook Battery Energy Storage System (BESS), a 150 MW/300 MWh stand-alone battery in the Upper Hunter region of New South Wales (NSW).

The $157 million project is to be built in the designated Hunter-Central Coast Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) on land owned and managed by NSW network operator Ausgrid and would connect to the grid via the existing Ausgrid Muswellbrook substation.

The NSW government has also given the green light to Melbourne-headquartered developer ACEnergy to build the planned $123 million Aspley BESS about 60 kilometres south of Dubbo in the coordinated Central-West Orana REZ.

The project involves the development of a standalone battery with a capacity of up to 120 MW/240 MWh, and a new 132 kV transmission line which would connect to the existing transmission line to the east of the project site.

ACEnergy expects to reach financial close on the project early next year with the state government saying both batteries are expected to be operational towards the end of 2025.

NSW Energy Minister Penny Sharpe said the batteries will help balance the grid and support the performance and future uptake of renewable energy in the state.

“Giving these batteries the green light will play a critical role in securing reliable, renewable energy across NSW,” she said.

“The transformation of our energy system needs to occur as soon as possible. Batteries are not only critical to supporting our state’s transition to net zero, they will assist us to get there sooner.”

The state government’s Renewable Energy Roadmap calls for at least 12 GW of renewable energy generation and 2 GW of energy storage by 2030 to replace the state’s ageing coal-fired power generators.

Sharpe said there are currently 27 large-scale renewable energy, transmission lines and storage projects under assessment in the NSW planning system. If approved, they would provide 9 GW of renewable energy and 5.5 MW of firming storage.

The Apsley and Muswellbrook projects are expected to create 132 jobs and inject $280 million into NSW’s economy.

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