Gannawarra’s grid scale battery

The second of two grid scale batteries funded by ARENA and the Victorian Government has been completed, with the development of 25 MW / 50 MWh Gannawarra Energy Storage System. Known as GESS, the system is Australia’s largest battery to be integrated with a solar farm, and will be among the largest solar and battery facilities in the world.

Co-located at the 60 MW Gannawarra Solar Farm near Kerang in North Western Victoria, GESS began exporting electricity to the grid in October and will be fully commissioned in time for summer.

Australian renewable energy company Edify Energy oversaw the development and construction of the project in a joint venture with Wirsol Energy. GESS uses Tesla’s lithium ion battery technology.

Edify Energy CEO John Cole said “The entire sector is aware of the potential for storage projects to not only provide invaluable services to the market and the grid, but also to enable the roll out of more and more clean and cheap renewable energy.

“Solar plus storage is a ‘category killer’ and we are very proud to have developed, structured and overseen the construction of two projects that together can serve as a model for wider adoption of storage into the market and the realisation of a high renewable future.

“We intend to continue the roll out of storage and renewables projects to help our retail and corporate customers achieve their energy and sustainability objectives,” John Cole said.

EnergyAustralia, which operates the Ballarat battery system BESS, will operate GESS in addition to a long-term offtake agreement to buy all the electricity generated from the co-located Gannawarra Solar Farm.

Together with the Ballarat battery, the two grid scale batteries will help to ease constraints on transmission lines and balance the grid with higher shares of renewable energy.

EnergyAustralia Managing Director Catherine Tanna said the project is an example of what we can look forward to in a modern energy system that delivers reliable, affordable and cleaner energy for customers.

“The ability to store and quickly release energy will help integrate renewables in the system as coal-fired plants progressively retire,” Tanna said. “These are the new technologies and approaches that will come to underpin our energy system, keeping customers’ lights on and their costs down.”

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

ARENA chief executive Darren Miller said the project shows the growing importance of batteries providing stability to the grid, and was an example of retrofitting a solar farm with a battery.

“Grid-scale batteries have the ability to provide rapid response injections of power and provide back-up power when needed.

“Integrating with the local solar farm provides potential for solar energy to be stored and used at night, helping to deliver secure and reliable electricity when it is needed.

“We congratulate the consortium behind the GESS project and look forward to it providing valuable system security services to Victoria’s grid this summer,” he said, while emphasising the ability of the two batteries in Victoria, along with the successful large-scale batteries in South Australia, to play an important role in Australia’s transition to affordable and reliable renewable energy.

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