The energy provider’s plan to build Australia’s largest battery is the latest development in a rapidly transitioning energy market.
The main point:
- Original Energy wants to make the largest battery in Australia
- The 700MW battery will be installed in the Hunter New South Wales area
- This will be four times larger than the Tesla battery in South Australia
Origin Energy has announced plans to build a giant 700 megawatt battery at a coal-fired power plant in Eraring, south of Newcastle, in the Hunter region of New South Wales.
If the plan goes, the battery will be four times the size of the 150 megawatt Tesla battery in South Australia.
Origin executive general manager, Greg Jarvis, said the batteries would support Origin’s transition from coal-fired power generation by 2032.
The batteries will use the existing factory infrastructure
Origin released a statement of interest to private companies this week to build and install batteries at the Eraring plant and has started talking with network company Transgrid about connecting the batteries to the national network via the Eraring substation.
The Eraring power station – which is Australia’s largest power station – is Origin’s only coal-fired plant. It is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2032.
The mega-battery will allow Origin to use its existing plant network infrastructure and connections long after power plants have stopped producing energy by burning coal.
The batteries will also support the transition of New South Wales’ energy grid away from fossil fuels and the influx of new solar and wind projects in the coming decades.
“We recognize that we have an important role to play in positioning the Origin power generation portfolio to support Australia’s rapid transition to renewable energy,” said Jarvis.
“Eraring’s large-scale batteries will help us better support renewable energy and maintain a reliable supply for our customers, by having long-life storage ready to be sent to the grid when renewable sources are not available.
“Deployment of these batteries in Eraring will support Origin’s orderly transition from coal-fired power generation by 2032, while complementing the policy objectives of the NSW energy roadmap.”
The mega-battery will be built in three phases, with the first phase due to be completed by the end of next year.
The race is on for Australia’s largest battery
The Origin plan follows a similar announcement from French energy giant Neoen, who last month submitted planning documents for a 500MW mega-battery to be built in western NSW.
Neoen, who partnered with Tesla to build South Australia’s 150MW battery (which is still the world’s largest lithium-ion battery energy storage system) plans to build a new 500MW battery at the site of the former Wallerawang power plant, previously owned by Energy Australia. it is disabled.
Neoen is also working with Tesla again to build a 300MW battery near Geelong in Victoria. The announcement was made in November.
As of October 2020, Neoen has more than 1.6 gigawatts of renewable assets in operation or under construction in Australia, represents more than $ 3 billion in investment, and intends to reach 3 gigawatts, worth about $ 6 billion, by 2022.
Origin’s proposed 700MW battery, and Neoen’s 500MW battery in western NSW, will be the world’s two largest storage devices, and will be worth a combined $ 1 billion.
The Origin battery will be four times larger than Tesla’s
Marnie Shaw, a research leader in the Battery Storage and Grid Integration Program at Australian National University, said it was a “big announcement”.
“The new battery, to give you an idea of the scale, is more than four times the size of Australia’s largest battery in South Australia at Hornsdale,” said Dr Shaw, referring to the Tesla battery owned and operated by Neoen (Dr Shaw was a research partner for Neoen).
“I was surprised because we were not used to big numbers like this with batteries, but also not surprised because it was so needed.
“This is an important next step to support the installation of renewable energy projects on a very large scale in NSW.
“This will easily take advantage of the existing transmission assets in Eraring.
“You take advantage of existing substations and power lines. Batteries will play an important role in stabilizing the power grid as we move to renewable energy.”
Dr Shaw says coal-fired power plants become more and more unreliable with age, so you need batteries nearby to provide safety and stable power stabilization.
“In addition, to get renewable energy, you need stable power storage,” he said.
“There is a large amount of investment going into renewable energy in NSW.”
The Australian Energy Market operator (AEMO) told the ABC that with new projects being proposed, there are now nearly 7000MW of battery storage under planning across Australia.
That’s enough to power 3.5 million homes.
Dr Shaw said the private sector would also benefit from more policy certainty from the Federal Government.
“It will definitely be better to get a clearer signal from the Federal Government about their strategy to support investment in renewable energy going forward,” he said.
“That will allow smaller firms to play a role in the transition as well as less financial risk.
“The Australian Energy Market operator has a plan, an integrated systems plan, but will again benefit from Federal Government support.
“People should care about these batteries because they support our transition to a low-carbon economy that reduces the impact of climate change, costs energy and supports new investment and jobs in Australia.”
A big step towards a low emissions future
Tony Wood, an energy analyst at the Grattan Institute, said the Origin battery plan was a big step towards transitioning to a low-emission future.
“And I think what you can see here are companies that want to get ahead of that change, so they are in a good position when opportunities start to emerge,” he told ABC Radio.
“It won’t be built tomorrow, but even the first phase of construction at the end of next year is a pretty aggressive schedule.
“I believe it will be one of the most interesting [battery projects], but this is not the last, “he said.