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Australia: Blackrock-backed developer Akaysha Energy progresses 710MWh of Queensland BESS projects

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Akaysha Energy has taken a Final Investment Decision (FID) on a grid-scale battery asset in Queensland, while another of its projects in the Australian state has achieved a key grid code compliance.

Energy storage developer Akaysha Energy – which is owned by major investment group Blackrock – announced via business networking site LinkedIn this week that its 205MW/410MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) in Brendale, a suburb of Queensland’s capital Brisbane, has reached its FID.

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The project will be built on a site owned by utility Unitywater and will be equipped with Tesla Megapack BESS units. Engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) duties will be carried out by Consolidated Power Projects (CPP).

CPP said in a separate announcement that its scope of work includes designing and constructing the BESS coupled with a 33kV/110kV substation which will connect to transmission operator Powerlink’s 110kV network through Powerlink’s existing substation at South Pine.

CPP said that the design is already at an “advanced” stage due to an early works agreement having been in place, which means that work on site can begin in March 2024, and CPP expected the first batteries to be energised in July 2025.

The BESS will operate on a merchant basis in the National Electricity Market (NEM), trading its stored capacity in frequency control ancillary services (FCAS), energy arbitrage, contingency and other opportunities.

The NEM, to which Queensland’s electricity grid is connected as well as those of five other Australian states, has been identified as one of the world’s most volatile electricity markets in terms of pricing dynamics, driving a strong business case for large-scale batteries.

Ulinda Park project meets grid performance standards

A day after the Brendale FID announcement, another Akaysha Energy project in Queensland was revealed to have taken a key step forward.

Generator Performance Standards (GPS) approval has been granted for Akaysha Energy’s 150MW/300MWh Ulinda Park BESS, in Queensland’s Western Downs region. The developer took its FID on Ulinda Park a couple of months ago.

GPS are specific performance standards all generators must adhere to and are included in the register of standards held by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), which oversees the NEM and Australia’s other major electricity markets.

The standards are considered to be particularly stringent by international standards. Approval was announced by Akaysha Energy together with US-based BESS system integrator Powin Energy and power conversion system (PCS) maker Eks Energy.

Powin will be supplying and integrating the BESS at Ulinda Park, just as it is supplying and integrating BESS equipment for Akaysha Energy’s most famous project, the 850MW/1,680MWh Waratah Super Battery in New South Wales. Consolidated Power Projects is also working on those other two in addition to Brendale, which of course has a different BESS supplier.

Powin bought Eks Energy in 2022 and in fact Powin leadership has said its acquisition of Eks was largely due to the Spain-headquartered power electronics manufacturer’s expertise with inverters for weak grid or grid edge environments, which would be an advantage in designing projects to meet Australia’s strict grid codes. Incidentally Hitachi Energy recently swooped to acquire a controlling stake in Eks, although Powin is thought be retaining a “significant ownership stake”.     

Akaysha Energy recently also entered a partnership with Japanese conglomerate Itochu, with the pair seeking to work on grid-scale projects in Japan’s nascent battery storage sector. In addition to Ulinda Park and Brendale, Akaysha is also developing Wurdong BESS, a third project in Queensland, which it plans to equip with up to 400MW/1,600MWh of batteries.

Energy-Storage.news’ 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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