Zen Energy starts construction on South Australian big battery

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Zen Energy has confirmed construction of the 111 MW / 270 MWh Templers battery energy storage system will now commence after the South Australian company successfully signed definitive documentation to secure funding from United States-headquartered investment giant Stonepeak.

Stonepeak, through its portfolio company Peak Energy, has announced an up to $70 million (USD 46 million) debt package that will facilitate the construction of the estimated $200 million Templers battery project, being developed near Gawler about 60 kilometres north of Adelaide.

Zen, which will build, own and operate the 291 MWh project, expects the battery to be operational by early 2025. The company said with financing now finalised, and detailed design and long lead procurement well progressed, site construction works will commence in Q2 2024.

The construction phase is expected to generate more than 180 jobs and take 17 months to complete with Zen anticipating the battery will be fully energised and providing services to the South Australian grid by Q2 2025,

South Australian high-voltage transmission network owner ElectraNet has already executed a connection agreement with the battery to connect to the grid via the existing Templers 132 kV substation.

Zen, which has signed a 10-year supply contract with the South Australian government, said once complete the Templers battery will be used to support the delivery of energy to its existing SA-based customers, with the battery also expected to perform grid-stability services to the wider National Electricity Market (NEM), paving the way for more renewable energy generation.

Zen Chief Executive Officer Anthony Garnaut said reaching the final investment decision for the Templers battery was a key milestone in the company’s “significant growth path and marks our first 100% owned major asset, in the state where we started.”

“The South Australian government, through committing to a long-term contract with a renewable retailer has enabled this significant investment in further stabilising the supply of renewable, affordable energy into South Australia,” Garnaut said.

South Australia Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis welcomed the announcement, saying the Templers battery will add significant storage and stability to the electricity grid as the state moves towards being 100% powered by renewable energy by 2027.

“South Australia led the pack when we invested in the Hornsdale Power Reserve, and our state is now home to six grid-connected batteries with a total capacity of more than 500 MW,” he said.

“These investments are a big vote of confidence in our state’s ambitious plan to get to net zero emissions in energy production by 2027, and to help the world along the pathway to decarbonisation.”

The Templers battery project, acquired from British developer Renewable Energy Systems (RES) in 2023, is Zen’s first utility-scale battery energy storage system.

The project is the second largest in South Australia, overshadowed only by AGL Energy’s Torrens Island power station energy storage system, which was unveiled in August 2023.

Zen, which contracts electricity from 20 solar and wind farms across Australia to service a total customer volume of more than 1 TWh, is also pursuing plans to develop a large-scale hybrid solar and battery project in South Australia’s mid-north. The proposed Solar River project would comprise more than 200 MW of solar generation and at least 300 MWh of energy storage capacity.

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