More battery projects approved in Victoria


Now that planning permission has been granted, Akaysha Energy can forge ahead with its planned expansion of the existing Elaine Battery Energy Storage System (BESS), from 800 MWh to 1244 MWh, announced just over a week ago. Also given planning permission is the new battery storage project from Flow Energy. This new 100 MW / 200 MWh Bennett’s Creek BESS system is targeting financial close in 2024 and commercial operations in late 2025.

The Bennett’s Creek site for BESS storage in the La Trobe Valley in Victoria’s southeast is to provide 24/renewable energy to the grid. This location is near Hazelwood, the former home of a coal station decommissioned in 2017, notorious as the least carbon-efficient power station in the OECD nations. The coal plant was said to have emitted up to 15% of that state’s annual greenhouse gas emissions before closure. When the Flow Energy BESS is put into operation in 2025, it will allow a greater share of renewable energy in the network, storing electricity produced during the day for use in the evening. The storage battery will also provide Frequency Control and Ancillary Services (FCAS), which keeps the grid within a safe frequency by balancing supply and demand, helping to prevent blackouts and outages.

“As one of the few Australian energy retailers with a completely renewable generation portfolio, the Bennetts Creek battery project marks a significant milestone for Flow Power,” said Flow Power COO Byron Serjeantson when announcing the project.

Flow Power says it selected the land because of its land use compatibility since the land was previously industrially zoned and unused. Another advantage of the location is its proximity to grid connection infrastructure. The Flow Energy battery storage project is planned beside the Morwell Terminal Station on Monash Way. The Bennett’s Creek BESS will bring a new 66 kV transmission line connection to the existing Morwell Terminal Substation.

The Hazelwood La Trobe Valley area is home to numerous energy generation projects because of the existing transmission network from retiring coal generators. Engie – the company that last operated and decided to close the notorious Hazelwood coal plant – already opened a battery storage project on the site, which went into operation this year. New renewable energy projects bring new jobs and opportunities, as with the Flow Energy BESS at Bennett’s Creek.

“In addition to supporting the local grid, the Bennetts Creek project is working with the local stakeholders through a community benefit scheme, industry engagement and local job creation,” said Serjeantson, explaining that Flow Power consulted extensively with the local community over this project. “We would like to thank everyone for their engagement and support to get to this point and look forward to working together to continue to create our renewable energy future,” he said. 

On the other side of Victoria, located about 5 kilometres from the town of Elaine on the Midland Highway between Ballarat and Geelong, the expansion of the Elaine project from Akyasha Energy has now also been approved by the Victorian planning department. This expansion means growing the project’s capacity by more than 50% due to its long duration capability of four hours. Almost all Australia’s big battery projects have generally had no more than two hours of storage. Originally designed as a 200MW, 800MWh facility, the Elaine project will be expanded to 311MW and 1244 MWh. With a planning permit now granted, this project is set to become one of the largest in Victoria.

Both Flow Energy and Akyasha Energy were founded in Victoria. While Flow Energy is still a Victorian-owned enterprise, Akaysha was acquired by BlackRock in August last year.

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