Victoria Big Battery now live, with 212 Tesla Megapacks (300MW), the state just got more renewables in time for summer

Today marks a major milestone in Victoria’s Big Battery project. The VBB is Australia’s largest battery and will help provide stability in the electricity grid this summer. As Victorian’s...

Today marks a major milestone in Victoria’s Big Battery project. The VBB is Australia’s largest battery and will help provide stability in the electricity grid this summer. As Victorian’s get home from work, turn on the air conditioner, start to cook dinner, watch TV and have evening showers, the peak load on the grid will now be supported by this 300MW/450MWh battery made up of 212 Tesla Megapack utility-scale batteries.

This VBB is a key part of achieving Victoria’s renewable target of reducing emissions by 50% by 2030 and is expected to save the state more than $200 Million.

The VBB will hold enough energy in reserve to power over half a million homes for one hour and has a similar footprint to Geelong’s GMHBA Stadium. While 1 hour may not sound like a long period of time, the intent is not to provide backup power to the state’s 6.6M+ population, but rather the peak demands spiking energy prices and where supply can’t keep pace with demand, can help avoid blackouts.

The project will not only leverage Tesla’s hardware in their battery technology but also their energy trading software, Autobidder to buy and sell power into the grid.

Autobidder allows companies like Neoen to autonomously monetize battery assets offering real-time trading and control. The ability for batteries to turn on almost instantly means they are far more likely to win in the request to supply power when needed, as compared to legacy energy generation.

The Victorian Big Battery is located next to AusNet Services’ existing Moorabool Terminal Station, approximately 13km northwest of Geelong. The site was chosen to allow the battery to connect into the existing high voltage transmission hub which means the power can be sent quicky to where it is needed.

Operated by Neoen, which may be a familiar name to many, as they are also the company who were behind the previous largest battery in Hornsdale, South Australia.

Victoria’s big battery now takes the title of the largest battery in the southern hemisphere, as shared by the state premier Daniel Andrews.

“The Victorian Government is proud to flick the switch on Australia’s biggest battery which will help protect our network in summer, support our renewable revolution, and slash energy prices. Neoen’s battery is a fantastic achievement as Victoria transitions to our legislated targets of 50 per cent renewables by 2030 and net zero by 2050.”

The Hon Lily D’Ambrosio MP, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change

This project is certainly not the last time Australia will leverage Tesla’s expertise to help increase renewables in this country, with a number of other projects on the east-coast underway.

“The delivery of the Victorian Big Battery is a major achievement for Neoen, not only because it is one of the largest batteries in the world, but also because it represents another key milestone in terms of innovation. Our journey in storage began in Australia in 2015 and we now have over half a gigawatt of storage operating across 3 continents.

We are convinced that large-scale battery storage is a vital element of the energy transition, and we are proud of our leadership in this sector. We will continue to build on our experience to deliver worldleading solutions that help to shape and transform the grid of the future, for the benefit of industry and consumers across Australia and around the globe.”

Xavier Barbaro, Neoen’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Something else that should be appreciated with this project is just how rapidly the power source has been created. It was only November last year that the project was announced, with finances being confirmed as recently as February, now here we are in early December 2021 and the project is live.

It is expected the VBB will have 20+ years of operation which at that time could be upgraded to the latest battery tech, and these batteries go back to Tesla for recycling.

Earlier in the year, the VBB found its way into headlines when a fire broke out at the site. After extensive enquiries, Energy Safe Victoria found a Megapack cooling system leak caused a short circuit resulting in overheating that led to a fire in a nearby battery compartment, which consequently damaged two Megapacks.

Thankfully nobody was hurt and the project was not delayed.

ESV did require the site’s owners and operators to implement a number of additional safety measures, which have been put in place, including:

  • Megapack cooling systems are fully pressure tested when installed on site.
  • Megapack cooling systems are inspected for leaks after testing.
  • Shorter connection times to the SCADA system to help alert Tesla with specific alarms.
  • A new battery module isolation loss alarm has been added.
  • Procedure changes for Megapack protection systems.

You can get more information at https://victorianbigbattery.com.au/

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Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021
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