Ace Power announced it has received the Generator Performance Standard 5.3.4 a/b from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) for both the 103 MW Kerang and 200 MW Yabulu battery energy storage projects being developed in northern Victoria and far north Queensland respectively.
Shane Humphreys, senior development manager and battery energy storage systems lead at Ace, said the connection approvals are the first received by the company, and are among the earliest approvals nationwide for battery energy storage systems to operate in grid-forming mode from the date of commissioning.
“This outcome is the culmination of over 12 months work, and considerable engineering input from our respective consultants as we navigated an evolving landscape in respect of how grid-forming inverter technology is assessed by AEMO and the NSPs (network service providers),” he said.
Humphreys said the connection approvals “significantly” de-risk the projects, allowing Ace to focus on moving the projects into construction by Q2 2024, and ultimately unlocking the network and consumer benefits that come with the deployment of advanced BESS inverter capabilities.
Each battery, which will be connected into the transmission network directly via existing network substations at their respective locations, will be equipped with grid-forming inverter technology, allowing them to provide essential system stability services traditionally provided by synchronous generation such as coal, gas and hydro plants, and more recently also by synchronous condensers.
Humphreys said both projects operating in grid-forming mode will contribute positively to network stability on a 24/7 basis and this is expected to unlock further capacity for renewable connections in the surrounding areas.
Both projects are co-located with planned solar farms. The Yabulu project, being developed near Townsville in Queensland’s far north, includes the 200 MW/400 MWh battery and a 100 MW solar farm.
The 103 MW Kerang big battery will be built alongside a proposed 140 MW solar farm in Victoria’s far north, a region rich with renewables, but with a weak grid.
It is expected the battery’s advanced inverter technology will help ease hose problems.
The project will also contribute to Victoria’s drive to meet legislated energy storge targets of at least 2.6 GW of storage capacity by 2030 and 6.3 GW by 2035, when it aims to reach 95% renewable share.
The awarding of the connection agreements comes just months after Ace announced it would partner with Osaka Gas Energy Oceania (OGEO), the clean energy arm of Japanese gas and power company Osaka Gas, to jointly develop a portfolio of Australian solar and battery projects with a total capacity of more than 500 MW.
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