Initially planned at 200 MW/400 MWh and currently under construction, the Western Downs Battery will now have an installed capacity of 270 MW/540 MWh battery with Neoen saying the greater capacity will ensure the battery is capable of providing a wider range of services and solutions.
The battery, being delivered by construction contractor UGL and featuring Tesla Megapack 2XL units, will leverage the existing infrastructure of Neoen’s Western Downs Green Power Hub being developed on a 1500-hectare site near Chinchilla in Queensland’s southwest.
The battery’s primary function will be firming renewables, notably Neoen’s recently commissioned 400 MW Western Downs Solar Farm, in addition to providing frequency services and transmission network support.
Neoen said the expansion of the battery’s installed capacity will allow it to play an “even more central role in Queensland’s rapidly accelerating energy transition which is resulting in a growing need for storage and related network services.”
“Western Downs Battery will be capable of performing a range of network services to the Queensland grid, including firming renewables, providing frequency services and transmission network support,” the company said, noting the asset will eventually be equipped “with grid-forming inverter technology allowing it to provide essential system stability services.”
It is expected the big battery will commence operating late next year or early 2025.
Queensland state-owned transmission network operator Powerlink will deliver the project’s connection works and a dedicated high-voltage line into the existing Western Downs substation which links to the nearby Queensland/New South Wales interconnector.
Powerlink Chief Executive Officer Paul Simshauser said large-scale batteries will continue play a critical role in supporting Australia’s shift from centralised, scheduled generation to decentralised, variable sources.
In its latest blueprint for Australia’s grid of the future, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has highlighted between 6 GW and 19 GW of storage capacity will be required by 2040 to support the rapid growth in renewables entering the grid.
“Increasing the capacity of Neoen’s Western Downs Battery to store Queensland’s valuable wind and solar resources will help keep the grid in a secure operating state and offer greater stability to Queenslanders,” he said.
The France-headquartered Neoen has emerged as one of the most prolific developers of large-scale storage facilities in Australia with big batteries operating or under construction in five Australian states and territories.”
The company already owns and operates the 300 MW/450 MWh Victorian Big Battery in Geelong, as well as the 150 MW/193.5 MWh Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia. It has a further three batteries under construction including the four-hour duration 219 MW/877 MWh Collie Battery in Western Australia.
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