Pacific Blue starts build of 60 MW battery in South Australia


China-owned renewable energy company Pacific Blue Australia (formerly Pacific Hydro Australia) has started the build of its first battery energy storage system (BESS).

The $100 million (USD 66 million), 60 MW / 130 MWh grid scale BESS will sit adjacent to Pacific Blue’s 56.7 MW wind farm in Clements Gap, South Australia (SA) and connect to an existing substation, minimising the need for additional transmission infrastructure to be built for the project.

Located 160 km north of Adelaide, 50 lithium ion battery containers will provide a duration of 130 MWh and are being provided by China-headquartered Trina Solar  with German-headquartered SMA Solar Technology inverters.

Pacific Blue Australia Chief Executive Officer Domenic Capomolla said battery energy storage systems have a vital role to play for the state, and Australia’s broader transition to renewable energy.

“The focus of Australia’s energy transition so far has overwhelmingly been on the generation of renewable energy – storing that energy and deploying it to support grid stability is the missing piece and a critical component of Australia’s renewable energy transition,” he said.

“The construction of Clements Gap BESS is the first key milestone for Pacific Blue in realising our 2 GW pipeline of capacity and energy storage solutions, which will contribute to Australia achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

The Clements Gap BESS is the first for Pacific Blue Australia, with a second in the pipeline at their Queensland, Haughton Solar Farm.

Image: Pacific Blue Australia

Stored energy can be released to the grid during periods of peak demand to support grid stability and will also back SA’s target of net 100% renewables by 2027.

Electricity generated from the Clements Gap wind farm currently contributes toward the 100% renewable powering of the City of Adelaide’s corporate and community buildings, council event infrastructure, electric vehicle chargers, barbecues in parks, water pumps, street lighting and traffic lights.

Pacific Blue operates nine wind farms, two hydro plants and Stage 1 of the Haughton solar farm, near Townsville, Queensland, which on completion will generate up to 500 MW capacity, to power 291,000 homes. Stage 2 will add 300 MW to the total output and also includes a BESS. The project directly adjoins an existing 275 kV Powerlink transmission line.

Other projects in the pipeline total more than 2.5 GW of potential capacity and energy storage solutions and includes the 100 MW Daroobalgie Solar Farm near Forbes, NSW capable of powering 34,000 homes annually, and the 240 MW Prairie Solar Farm in Victoria’s Loddon Shire, capable of powering 120,000 homes.

Pacific Blue Australia is owned by State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC) through its subsidiary State Power Investment Overseas of China (SPIC Overseas). SPIC is one of the five major power generation groups in China and the largest solar power generation enterprise in the world.

By the end of August 2015, SPIC had achieved a total installed capacity of 100.44 GW, 39.59% of which were clean energies.

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