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Maoneng begins 480MWh BESS project to help Australian tourist region manage electricity demand

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Developer Maoneng Group’s joint venture (JV) company has begun work on a 240MW/480MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) project in the Mornington Peninsula region of Victoria, Australia.

Gaw Maoneng Renewables (GMR), is the New South Wales-headquartered developer’s JV with real estate equity investment group Gaw Capital Partners, from Hong Kong. Launched late last year with an undisclosed investment from Gaw, GMR began working to accelerate development of six projects including the Mornington BESS, totaling 1.3GW.

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The project is aimed at helping the Mornington Peninsula region, popular with tourists and holidaymakers, to cope with its fluctuations in electricity demand, which increase and decrease seasonally.

The batteries will charge with off-peak energy including solar at times of abundant or surplus generation and then input back to the grid when demand peaks and the energy is most needed.

Although frequency control ancillary services (FCAS) tend to be the biggest revenue-earner for battery storage on the grid in Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM), the role of arbitrage and energy trading is growing, especially in specific pockets like Mornington.

Maoneng gave details of its plans for the project in July 2021, as reported by Energy-Storage.news. At that time, Victoria had just 55MW/80MWh of BESS in service, but this has since been joined by various projects such as the 300MW/450MWh Victorian Big Battery.

At the end of last month, Shell Energy and the Macquarie-owned Green Investment Group (GIG) announced a 200MW/400MWh BESS in the state was in co-development by the pair, with Fluence to supply BESS technology.

The Mornington BESS got development approval in January 2022 by Victoria Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, before then getting grid connection approval from the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) in May of last year.

GMR Energy said last week that it had entered into an early works agreement with transmission network service provider AusNet for the building of transmission infrastructure to connect the BESS to an AusNet substation.

The development JV had been include in what were described as final negotiations with an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor. The project will be financed with a combination of debt and equity financing, at an expected investment cost of AU$330 million (US$220 million) cited by GMR – a considerable increase on the originally quoted AU$190 million expected cost.

Maoneng and GMR executive Morris Zhou said the early works agreement had been signed amid a challenging set of supply chain circumstances that have impacted “availability of transformers and other materials required”. The agreement with AusNet will cover supply of those so-called “long lead” items.

In addition to the Mornington BESS, GMR also has development approval for its 225MWp/450MWh Gould Creek BESS in South Australia.

Energy-Storage.news’ publisher Solar Media will host the 1st Energy Storage Summit Asia, 11-12 July 2023 in Singapore. The event will help give clarity on this nascent, yet quickly growing market, bringing together a community of credible independent generators, policymakers, banks, funds, off-takers and technology providers. For more information, go to the website.

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