NT plans second big battery for Darwin-Katherine electricity system


With testing of the $45 million (USD 29 million) Darwin-Katherine Battery Energy Storage System (DK BESS) having commenced before it comes online later this year, the Northern Territory (NT) government has revealed plans to deploy a second big battery to boost capability and assure the security of the power grid.

The DK BESS 2 project will see large-scale batteries distributed across locations on the Darwin-Katherine Interconnected System (DKIS) to enable more solar energy penetration by providing essential frequency and voltage control services.

Expressions of interest for the project have already been called and the assessment of submissions is now underway. The government said successful applicants will be asked to put forward a proposal for the project.

Commissioning of the battery energy storage solution is targeted from 2026 onwards.

Northern Territory Chief Minister Eva Lawler said the DK BESS 2 project, in conjunction with the first big battery, will satisfy the Darwin-Katherine Electricity System Plan requirement for the installation of up to 105 MW of high-specification batteries.

“Battery technology will play a significant role in our target of reaching 50% renewable energy consumption by 2030, so the DK BESS and DK BESS 2 are an important part of our transition to a renewable energy future,” she said.

The announcement comes as the 35 MW / 35 MWh Darwin-Katherine battery, built at the Channel Island Power Station in Darwin, progresses through its testing phase. The installation, construction and pre-commissioning of the battery is now complete and it is moving towards full-scale commissioning. It is expected to come online later this year.

The battery is forecast to deliver cost savings of about $9.8 million annually, paying for itself in about five years from connection to the grid, and delivering annual carbon emission savings of 58,000 tonnes.

Gerhard Laubscher, CEO of Territory Generation which owns the DK BESS projects in partnership with NT Power and Water Corporation, said the battery projects will play a critical role in advancing renewables in the Darwin-Katherine electricity system and other power systems across the Territory.

“Adding more battery energy storage systems to Territory Generation’s portfolio will not only enable more renewables and efficient generation dispatch throughout the energy transition, but also fosters the evolution of technological innovations and further supports grid resilience,” he said.

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