Australia is transitioning its energy grid and the Federal Government recently approved the latest battery storage project, located in Victoria, known as the Melbourne Renewable Energy Hub (MREH).
This $800 million energy storage facility that will support Victoria’s renewable energy zones and stabilise the state’s energy infrastructure.
MREH will be one of the biggest batteries in the world, with a capacity of 1.6 gigawatt-hours (GWh). It will store renewable energy from wind and solar farms in regional Victoria, and release it when needed to meet demand in Melbourne.
The project will be built in two stages and the battery will connect to Victoria’s main 500kV transmission line.
When South Australia’s big battery was created, it became somewhat of a tourist attraction for those in favour of renewable energy. Given this will overtake that project in size many times over, I expect the same will happen with the MREH. The location is 77 Holden Rd, Plumpton, VIC 3335, which is about 25kms northwest of Melbourne’s CBD.
Today, Google Maps shows an empty site with a backdrop of the Melbourne skyline.
The project started with a site selection and feasibility study back in 2019 with detailed plans released by Syncline Energy in August 2021. By November 2022, Equis acquired a 100% stake in the project.
Construction is scheduled to begin in Q4 2023 and is expected to be completed in 2025. Once operational, it will power more than 1 million households and create up to 365 jobs during construction and 30 ongoing positions. What isn’t known is how long those million households could be supported by the battery alone, for example, if a grid outage occurred during the night when solar inputs to the grid were unavailable.
As Victoria’s traditional energy generation of coal and gas-fired power stations retire, renewable energy will become an increasingly important source of electricity. However, renewable energy sources are intermittent, energy storage projects like this one from EQUIS Australia are critical in making the switch. Equis has a number of renewable energy projects in Australia including:
- 200MW/800Mwh Battery in Koolunga, South Australia
- 300MW/1,200MWh Battery in Calala, Tamworth, NSW
- 200MW Battery in Lower Wonga, QLD
- 50MW Battery in Mackay, QLD
Benefits of Melbourne Renewable Energy Hub
The Melbourne Renewable Energy Hub will offer a number of benefits to Victorians, including:
- Increased renewable energy generation: MREH will support the development of new wind and solar farms in regional Victoria, helping to increase the state’s renewable energy generation capacity.
- Lower electricity prices: MREH will help to reduce the volatility of electricity prices by providing a reliable source of backup power and supporting the grid’s voltage and frequency.
- Improved energy security: MREH will help to improve Victoria’s energy security by reducing its reliance on fossil fuels.
- Job creation: MREH is expected to create up to 365 jobs during construction and 30 ongoing positions.