The Energy Storage Report 2024

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Australia: Akaysha in AU$250 million debt deal, national tenders oversubscribed and 2GWh project contract awarded


Australia’s energy storage sector has seen a trio of significant announcements around the development of major battery energy storage system (BESS) projects.

In the past couple of days developer Akaysha Energy has disclosed a AU$250 million (US$163.57 million) debt financing deal, Commonwealth energy minister Chris Bowen revealed huge interest in a tender scheme and state-owned utility Synergy awarded a AU$160 million contract for work on a 2GWh BESS project.

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Akaysha gets AU$250 million debt deal from banks

Akaysha Energy, the developer owned by global investment group Blackrock, has closed its debt deal with seven banks toward the financing of two grid-scale projects in Queensland which together will play a total 710MWh battery capacity into the National Electricity Market (NEM). 

The money borrowed from banks CBA, DBS, ING, Mizuho, MUFG, Rabobank, and SMBC will be used to fund the construction costs of Akaysha’s Ulinda Park (150MW/300MWh) and Brendale (205MW/410MWh) BESS assets.

In addition to the three-year tenured portfolio facility more than AU$100 million in Letters of Credit have been agreed to support the developer’s security obligations on the projects.

As previously reported by Akaysha took its Final Investment Decision (FID) on Brendale in December last year, and received the key Generator Performance Standard (GPS) certification for connecting Ulinda Park to the NEM around that time, having already taken the FID for it a couple of months earlier.

Brendale will be equipped with BESS solutions supplied by system integrator and manufacturer Powin Energy—which just sealed a 12GWh lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cell supply deal with China’s Rept Battero—while Tesla Megapack units will be used at Ulinda Park.

Akaysha Energy became widely known in the market as the developer behind the landmark 1,680MWh Waratah Super Battery in New South Wales, currently in construction with Powin as its BESS integrator. Its other projects in development include 200MW/800MWh Elaine BESS project in Victoria, and the 100MW/200MWh Palmerston BESS in Tasmania, receiving planning approvals for both projects around the start of this year.  

Capacity Investment Scheme already ‘massively oversubscribed’

The first wave of dispatchable renewable energy solicitations under the Commonwealth government’s Capacity Investment Scheme (CIS) has seen enormous developer interest.

Government energy minister Chris Bowen said in a speech to the Energy Users Association of Australia yesterday (1 May) that the first tenders, being held for Victoria and South Australia, have been “massively oversubscribed”.

Bids for 19,000MW of potential energy storage projects were received, with the CIS only seeking an initial 600MW to back renewable energy development in the two states, which, as Bowen pointed out, was 32 times the targeted procurement.

Overseer AEMO Services, a branch of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), has shortlisted projects which will proceed towards selection.

The Victoria-South Australia tender is an initial pilot for the nationwide scheme which seeks to get 32GW of new renewable energy capacity deployed by 2030, including 9GW of firm dispatchable resources i.e., resources backed with energy storage. A similar initial 500MW tender will open in Western Australia later this year.

Bowen said his department would release more details in the coming week. The CIS has been hailed as a transformative move by the government and will be administered by individual states, underwriting long-term revenues for projects while allowing developers and project owners to play into merchant opportunities in the NEM.

“We expect that projects will demonstrate benefits for local industry, communities, jobs and First Nations, as well as for the broader energy system and users,” Bowen said.

“As well as delivering these benefits, it is worth noting the Capacity Investment Scheme is specifically designed to provide enough support to allow projects to operate sustainably in an environment of low energy prices.”

Key contract for 2GWh Collie BESS

A key contract award has been made for Australia’s largest BESS project to date, the Collie BESS (CBESS1) in Western Australia (WA).

SCEE Electrical, headquartered in Perth, has been awarded an AU$160 million contract for civil, electrical, and major equipment installation works for the 500MW/2,000MWh BESS project.

The award was made by Synergy, a generator and energy retailer (‘gentailer’) owned by the Western Australia state government.

The government announced the deal today (2 May), with SCEE set to install and commission the site’s 640 containerised BESS units, 160 inverters and 220km of high-voltage cabling, as well as infrastructure works.

Set to come online in late 2025, the project is one of three that Synergy is delivering on behalf of the state government, and will be joined in the Collie region by the privately-owned project in development by French independent power producer (IPP) Neoen.

Neoen’s own Collie battery system has an initial build phase of 219MW/877MWh, which is already underway, and it could eventually be even bigger than Synergy’s project, at 2.2GWh, with subsequent phases.

The projects will all connect to Western Australia’s Wholesale Electricity Market (WEM) via its South West Interconnected System (SWIS) grid, given that the region is far from the NEM-connected states in Central, Southern and Eastern Australia.’ publisher Solar Media will host the 1st Energy Storage Summit Australia, on 21-22 May 2024 in Sydney, NSW. Featuring a packed programme of panels, presentations and fireside chats from industry leaders focusing on accelerating the market for energy storage across the country. For more information, go to the website.

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