The Energy Storage Report 2024

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Octopus Australia wins planning approval for 1GWh standalone BESS project in Queensland

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The asset will help balance generation of Octopus’ renewable assets in Queensland including the 180MW Dulacca wind farm (pictured). Image: RES.

Octopus Group’s first standalone battery energy storage system (BESS) project in Australia has won local approval in Queensland.

Renewable energy and energy storage developer Octopus Australia said this week (9 July) that its 500MW/1,000MWh Blackstone Battery project has received planning approval from Ipswich City Council, local government authority for Queensland’s oldest provincial city.

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It would be one of the biggest BESS assets in the state, which has placed a major emphasis on the role of energy storage including batteries and pumped hydro, in its AU$62 billion (US$41.9 billion) Energy and Jobs Plan policy strategy.

In addition to projects set to be in public ownership, such as a 300MW/1,200MWh system at Stanwell Clean Energy Hub in Central Queensland, and support for upstream lithium-ion (Li-ion) and flow battery manufacturing and supply chain industries in the state, fully private sector projects like Blackstone Battery could also play a key role in delivering the state’s promised economic growth and progress towards renewable energy targets.

Queensland is aiming to get to 70% renewable energy by 2032, and 80% by 2035. According to government statistics, 27% of power generation in the state came from renewables as of February this year.

From Octopus Australia’s perspective, the company said the large-scale BESS will be used to help it balance its portfolio of renewable energy developments in Queensland. These include a 180MW operational wind farm and solar-plus-storage plant with 100MW of PV and 55MW/220MWh BESS the company is building adjacent to the wind plant, in Queensland’s Western Downs region.

The PV-plus-BESS plant, Ardandra, was the single largest renewable energy generation project under construction in Australia as of August last year, according to a report from the Clean Energy Council (CEC) trade association

Blackstone will be sited 30km from state capital Brisbane, on a 9-hectare site in the industrial locality of Swanbank in Ipswich. Octopus bought the project from developer Firm Power in October 2023, with plans to connect to transmission operator Powerlink’s network via an existing 275kV substation in Swanbank.

The asset will play into the interconnected National Electricity Market (NEM) and Octopus said last year that it was targeting a Final Investment Decision (FID) in the second half of 2025.

Octopus Australia is in the portfolio of sustainable and disruptive industries investor Octopus Group. The group is the majority shareholder of Octopus Energy Group, which has a retail electricity arm (or tentacle) in the UK that is now the country’s biggest utility provider, and alongside renewables and BESS development, it also has Kraken Technologies, an energy tech platform that enables optimisation and trading of energy assets including batteries in different markets around the world.  

On acquiring the Blackstone Battery project last year, Octopus Australia head of investment and development Sonia Teitel said the asset would “enable innovative offtake products to be structured.”

Read more coverage from Queensland on Energy-Storage.news.

7 August 2024
12pm (AEST)
Join Energy-Storage.news and energy storage market experts at GridBeyond for a discussion on the evolving landscape for energy storage in Australia’s National Electricity Market, and the challenges faced in optimising the value of battery assets in an evolving market.

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