Origin presses go on 650 MWh grid-forming battery in Victoria

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Global energy storage product services and software company Fluence signed on to build the Mortlake battery energy storage system (BESS) in January and the notice to proceed opens the door for it to start construction of the $400 million project.

The battery, partially funded by Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) which is providing $24 million toward the project as part of the $176 million Large Scale Battery Storage Funding Round, will feature grid-forming inverters supplied by German-headquartered solar and storage solution provider SMA.  These will allow the battery to provide system stability services to the region’s growing number of wind and solar farms.

ARENA Chief Executive Officer Darren Miller said Origin’s decision to proceed highlights the increased confidence in grid-forming inverter technology and the strong market incentives driving investment in battery storage.

“As traditional forms of energy generation are phased out, new clean technologies are required to take their place. Large-scale batteries can play a significant role in providing system stability services, particularly when fitted with advanced grid-forming inverters,” he said.

Miller said ARENA’s funding has been integral to creating smarter batteries with this technology with the Mortlake battery the fifth project to have been committed under the funding round, with three more to go across Australia.

Other batteries that were successful in the ARENA funding round and have been financially committed include Neoen’s 270 MW / 540 MWh Western Downs battery in Queensland, the 200 MW / 400 MWh Blyth battery in South Australia, and the 300 MW / 450 MWh Victorian Big Battery. AGL has also secured funding for a 500 MW / 2 GWh battery to be developed at the site of its coal-fired Liddell power plant in the New South Wales Hunter Valley.

The Mortlake battery is being developed next to Origin’s 566 MW gas-fired power station at Mortlake, and progresses the company’s goal of growing its portfolio of renewable energy generation and storage capacity to 4 GW by the end of the decade.

Expected to be commissioned late in 2026, the Mortlake BESS is also adjacent to the Moorabool to Heywood 500 kV transmission line, within Victoria’s South-West Renewable Energy Zone.

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