It looks like Australia is set to get a massive battery storage project, following on from the successful Hornsdale project in South Australia. Western Australia Premier Mark McGown has revealed that the state needs more storage capacity to support the dramatic growth in renewable energy production.
McGowan goes on to say that batteries are clearly shaping up as the key to the future of energy – so to help tackle this challenge, they’re looking to installing a BIG battery for the grid.
The scale of the storage required is expected to be 100 megawatts, which matches the initial big battery (largest in the world at the time), provided by Tesla, to the Hornsdale Power Reserve. Since then, the Hornsdale battery was upgraded, increasing from the original 100MW/129MWh, to add an additional 50MW/ 64.5MWh expansion after a successful first year of operations.
The battery would be bigger than 20 tennis courts, side-by-side, and have the capacity to power 160,000 homes for two hours. When you understand the formula of a typical outage, you don’t need capacity to be a UPS for the whole state, but rather a storage capacity for a short period of time for impacted areas.
The decommissioned Kwinana Power Station is said to be the selected location, located about 40km south of Perth, WA. As with many new renewable energy projects, it creates jobs, and this one is anticipated to require around 100 jobs the Premier expects will be filled by Western Australian residents.
The big battery will support integration of more renewable energy and improve grid security. It can be charged during the day, when the sun is shining and energy is plentiful, and discharge this energy when it’s most needed during the afternoon and evening peak.
Energy provider Synergy, who offer solar and battery solutions to customers, will operate the battery. This big battery will support existing generation plants that are not designed to fluctuate in response to high levels of renewable energy in the grid.
It is expected that if feasible, a contract could be awarded next year and the battery could be operational by late 2022.
While the big battery provider will be open for suppliers to tender for, this could easily be another great project for Tesla to help with. Not only do they have the skills and experience from the South Australian battery, we’re also a couple of years on from then, which means costs are coming down as they scale out energy solutions, meaning they are likely to be very cost-competitive.
Something other battery providers don’t have is Autobidder. This provides independent power producers, utilities and capital partners the ability to autonomously monetize battery assets. Tesla even uses the Hornsdale example as a case study on its Autobidder website.