New South Wales (NSW) transmission network operator Transgrid said services provided by grid-scale battery energy storage systems have been identified as part of the preferred option to resolve emerging network constraints in the Bathurst, Orange and Parkes area and the state’s North West Slopes region.
Transgrid, the operator and manager of the high voltage electricity transmission network in NSW and the Australian Capital Territory, said a thorough assessment of options had identified big batteries as the best way forward in terms of providing the biggest benefits for the two network growth regions.
“Our grid is changing, which is why we’re going beyond the traditional poles and wires approach and embracing new technologies and business models to meet the needs of consumers and keep the system reliable,” Transgrid Executive General Manager of Network Marie Jordan said.
“We’re looking to purchase services from providers who own and operate battery storage. This approach helps meet growing demand in both regions faster than upgrading the existing network.”
Transgrid is seeking services from two separate battery energy storage systems to be installed at substations near Panorama and Parkes, and other big battery to be installed near Narrabri or Gunnedah in the North West Slopes region.
Jordan said the grid-scale batteries will provide dynamic reactive support to manage voltage variations on Transgrid’s network during high demand periods, from 2025 or soon thereafter.
“These services will help us unlock extra capacity on the transmission network and use the existing network better and avoid interruptions to supply for consumers,” she said. “The service providers can also use the batteries to trade in the energy market when not needed to support Transgrid’s network, so it’s a win-win for the power system.”
Transgrid modelling indicates electricity demand will increase substantially in the Bathurst, Orange and Parkes areas and the North West Slopes region in the near future due to the connection of new industrial loads and general load growth.
The network operator said multiple options for addressing the emerging load constraints in both areas had been examined and, in each case, the best option involved services provided by third-party battery energy storage facilities.
Jordan said the project is amongst the first in the National Electricity Market where a solution involving large-scale batteries has outperformed other options throughout the Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission (RIT-T).
“It is another sign of how rapidly our energy system is changing and how we need to adapt and embrace new technology as we embark on the energy transition,” she said.
Figures provided by Transgrid show the proposals from third-party battery operators had outperformed the poles and wires solutions, promising to deliver up to $2,550 million (USD 1,717 million) in net benefits in the Orange and Parkes area and $459 million in net benefits in the North West Slopes region.
Transgrid will now enter a competitive procurement process and begin commercial negotiations with non-network proponents to put contracts in place. The network operator will host a market forum on August 10 with potential service providers invited to register.
Subject to approvals, the batteries could be completed by 2024-2025.
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