Australian utility AGL reveals latest big step towards 850MW of battery storage

AGL said it has also lodged a Scoping Report - a necessary step in the process to get planning approval - for a 50MW battery facility at its Broken Hill solar farm in NSW (pictured). Image: AGL.

Australian utility AGL has furthered its plans to develop 850MW of large-scale battery storage across a number of sites in the country, announcing a new project in Victoria.

Last week AGL said that it intends to build a project in South Australia of up to 250MW / 1,000MWh, which would be one of the largest battery energy storage systems (BESS) in the world. The utility said today that it has begun development activities for a 200MW battery system in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley.

AGL did not say in a press release what the likely capacity in megawatt-hour terms will be for the Victoria battery system, but did reveal that the system is planned for siting at the Loy Yang power station, which currently has 2,225MW of coal generation based there, as well as a coal mine that fuels it.

The utility’s 850MW of targeted energy storage deployments will be located within Australia’s National Electricity Market wholesale market structure and should be added to AGL’s network by the 2024 financial year.

By that time, AGL is targeting sourcing 34% of its electrical capacity from renewables and energy storage. Eventually, as with a number of major utilities in the US and several major countries, AGL wants to be responsible for net zero emissions by 2050.

AGL CEO Brett Redman said the company is proud to be taking battery storage technology into the Latrobe Valley, which described as a community that plays “such a pivotal role in Australia’s energy generation”.

“The limiting factor for renewable technology has always been storage and we are taking control of these limitations by turning our attention to batteries. We are investing in our people, our communities and the technology and in doing so driving Australia’s energy transition responsibly,” Redman said.

“These battery projects are recharging our communities, as well as providing energy certainty for our customers.”

AGL continues to invest in renewable energy and CEO Redman said that there is a need to “lead the next phase of the energy transition by developing storage and firming technologies,” while continuing to support an energy sector largely in transition from coal to renewables and at the same time ensuring security and affordability of supply for the utility’s customers.

Alongside the planned massive batteries at Loy Yang and in South Australia, AGL is supporting a number of other smaller battery storage projects, but said that it is reviewing one announced project, located at Liddell Power Station coal plant in New South Wales, in light of recently announced state government energy policies. The NSW government intends to support private investments in clean energy and infrastructure by 2030, phase out several gigawatts of coal generation and create a roadmap to 12GW of renewables capacity, in a bid to establish itself as an "energy superpower," our sister site PV Tech reported on 9 November. 

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