Development approval granted for Maoneng’s 480MWh battery project in Victoria, Australia

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How the Mornington BESS project could look. Image: Maoneng.

Maoneng has been granted development approval for its proposed 240MWp/480MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) in Victoria, Australia, which in megawatt-hour terms will be the country’s biggest project of its type so far. 

Australia-headquartered renewable energy and energy storage project development company Maoneng announced its plans for the standalone BESS project in July last year. The system will be built on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, a region popular with tourists and subject to fluctuations in demand for power on a seasonal basis as a result.

Maoneng told today the approval was granted by Victoria’s Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne.

The Mornington BESS, as it has been dubbed, will therefore support stability of the local electricity network, managing periods of peak demand on the network — charging during off-peak times when energy, particularly solar PV generation, is abundant and then discharging to the network during peaks. 

It will cost around AU$190 million (US$137.33 million) and is scheduled for completion in the middle of next year. In the coming weeks, Maoneng expects to announce the project’s engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor. 

It’s the latest chapter in the rapidly evolving story of battery storage in the Australian state. At the time reported on Maoneng making the project’s plans public, there was just over 55MW / 80MWh of BESS online in Victoria, split between two state government-supported projects in Gannawarra and Ballarat, which came online in late 2018-early 2019. 

Since then a further 320MW/484MWh of utility-scale projects have come online in the state, including the Victorian Big Battery 300MWh/450MWh project which came online recently through developer Neoen and technology supplier Tesla. 

Maoneng is itself seeking a leading position in the national Australian battery storage market. The company signed a 400MWh dispatch rights deal with major utility AGL for four separate 50MW/100MWh projects in New South Wales in October 2019. 

More recently, in November 2021 reported that Maoneng’s Gould Creek BESS 225MWp/450MWh project in South Australia had been granted development approval by the state government’s Minister for Planning and Local Government. 

Maoneng said today that about 160 full-time equivalent jobs will be created during the Mornington project’s construction phase, while company co-founder and CEO Morris Zhou said “more work on the supply chain will begin soon as our contractor comes on board and begins the process of hiring individuals, companies and equipment suppliers as the project gets up to speed”.

“The Mornington BESS will be a vital piece of local infrastructure that will benefit the local economy in several ways. It will help stabilise the network and manage periods of peak demand when local companies and households really need reliable electricity,” Zhou said.  

The Mornington project will be built next to an existing substation owned and operated by network provider AusNet. 

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