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Neoen appoints UGL to construct 877MWh Tesla BESS in Western Australia

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Neoen has appointed its construction partner for the first phase of what could be a 1GW/4GWh battery storage project in Western Australia.

The France-headquartered independent power producer (IPP) has become a prolific developer of battery energy storage system (BESS) assets in Australia, including the 150MW/193.5MWh Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia and the 350MW/450MWh Victorian Big Battery.

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Its latest project in Western Australia’s Collie, a region with long historic ties to the coal industry, was proposed in September last year as a potential gigawatt-scale, 4-hour duration resource. However, whether it reaches that total capacity is dependent on the evolving business case for it.

The initial phase of the Collie Battery, as it has been dubbed, would represent 200MW output and 800MWh storage capacity, the company said at the time describing the Shire of Collie as an “ideal location” for battery storage.

Now determined at 219MW/877MWh, end-to-end engineering company UGL said yesterday that it has been appointed to the project. Its role includes installing the Collie Battery’s Tesla Megapack XL units, the next generation BESS solution from the US-headquartered EV, energy storage – and occasionally solar PV – company.

It will also install balance of plant (BOP) infrastructure, carry out design, construction, testing and commissioning of the Collie Battery’s 33/330kV substation, and civil works including a bridge replacement and building an access track. UGL is a subsidiary of major Australian construction company CIMIC Group, which serves a broad range of industries.

CIMIC’s executive chairman Juan Santamaria said UGL has to date delivered “17 major renewables generation and storage projects” in its role as designer and constructor”.

“The Collie Battery will be UGL’s sixth BESS project in recent years, and our third for Neoen following the successful design and construction of the Victorian Big Battery and the Western Downs Battery which is currently under construction. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Neoen and Tesla through the Collie Battery project,” Santamaria said.

Indeed, the 200MW/400MWh Western Downs project, co-located with a solar PV power plant in Queensland began construction just before the end of 2022, as reported by Energy-Storage.news.

In May, the site also reported that UGL had been appointed by utility company Alinta Energy to design, test and commission a 35MW/35MWh BESS paired with 45MW of solar PV at the site of an Alinta fossil fuel plant. That project is aimed at helping decarbonise and reduce reliance on thermal generation at one of the world’s largest iron ore ports.

Collie Battery will be connected to Western Australia’s main electricity network, the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) via a substation of network provider Western Energy. It is expected to be commissioned in late 2024.

For the state, it’s the latest move to embrace battery storage. Western Australia’s biggest project to date, a 100MW/200MWh system in the Kwinana region south of state capital Perth, is currently in its commissioning phase. The Kwinana BESS is considered a flagship project of the state government. It has been developed by government-owned utility Synergy and delivered by BESS solutions company NHOA.

In addition to Kwinana, the Western Australia government has pledged funding and support to two other projects that will be among the largest of their kind in the country: another BESS at Kwinana of 200MW/800MWh and an even bigger 500MW/2,000MWh project, which will be built in the same Shire of Collie region as Neoen’s Collie Battery.

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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