Big battery bank for Ballarat

A consortium led by Downer Spotless has completed the 30 MW/30 MWh Ballarat Battery Energy Storage System which features a Fluence state of the art lithium ion battery. The BESS, which is currently in the final testing phase before being connected to the grid in time for summer, is owned by network company AusNet Services and will be operated by EnergyAustralia.

The storage system is capable of powering more than 20,000 homes for an hour of critical peak demand before being recharged and will be able to respond to changing grid needs within milliseconds. The plant will will operate 24/7 to support critical peak demand and, importantly, avoids the need for further network investment while shoring up the position of renewable energy in the grid.

It is the first of two large-scale batteries that will support Victoria’s energy grid.

EnergyAustralia chief executive Cath Tanna emphasised that batteries facilitate grid reliability which is important at a time that coal plants retire and are replaced by wind and solar power.

"That's where utility-scale batteries come into their own by storing wind and solar energy for quick release, keeping the lights on and costs down," Tanna said.

ARENA chief executive Darren Miller agrees, saying “As we have seen with the success of large-scale batteries in South Australia, grid scale batteries have an important role to play in providing short term energy storage and providing rapid response injections of power to help stabilise the grid.”

“This battery will help to ease constraints on transmission lines in Western Victoria that currently curtail the output of wind and solar, while also helping to bring in more renewables to the grid.”

Earlier this year ARENA committed $25 million to the development of Victoria’s two grid-connected, utility-scale batteries, matching the $25 million committed by the Victorian Government as part of its $50 million energy storage initiative. 

Victoria’s Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio opened the Ballarat Energy Storage System earlier this week, and explained the project which is the first of its kind in the state was part of the Labor Government’s Energy Storage Initiative that supports energy storage technologies and drives the development of clean technologies while boosting local economies.

“We said we would deliver these large-scale batteries for Victoria, and that’s exactly what we’ve done,” the Minister said. “This is part of our plan to transition to a more affordable, reliable and clean energy system.

“We’re modernising our electricity grid, strengthening our energy security and delivering real action on climate change.”

Victoria’s second large-scale battery is the Tesla 25 megawatt/50 mega-watt hour battery which is integrated with the Gannawarra Solar Farm in central Victoria.

Delivered by Edify Energy, it is also expected to provide grid support by summer 2018, and will also be operated by EnergyAustralia under a long-term off-take agreement.

See summer Solar and Storage magazine for more on the role of Fluence Energy in large-scale battery storage projects.

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