Work has begun on Australia’s biggest battery storage system to date, the Waratah Super Battery, a month after BlackRock-owned developer Akaysha Power was awarded the project.
The Super Battery is being built in New South Wales. Its main application will be to act as a kind of shock absorber for the grid, coming into action when there are disruptions in supply, while it will also allow for greater utilisation of renewable energy.
The New South Wales (NSW) government began a competitive tender process for the project in March as a cornerstone of plans to retire coal power stations and committed to the Waratah Super Battery in the state budget announced in June. The project was deemed a project of Critical State Significant Infrastructure (CSSI) by the NSW government.
State-owned corporation EnergyCo New South Wales then awarded Akaysha Power the developer contract in October. US headquartered energy storage system integrator and manufacturer Powin Energy, which had made its entry into the Australian market just a few weeks prior through partnering with Akaysha, is the battery energy storage system (BESS) technology provider on the project.
Powin said today that the execution phase of the project has commenced, revealing that the BESS will be 909MW/1,915MWh total output and capacity, larger than had been anticipated in some previous reports.
That means it will likely also be the world’s biggest BESS, with the current holder of that title the 1.6GWh Moss Landing Energy Storage Facility in California, albeit with the rapid growth of the global market there may well be others even bigger by the Waratah Super Battery’s expected commissioning date in 2025.
Australia’s current largest project meanwhile is the 300MW/450MWh Victorian Big Battery, which went online late last year.
Powin noted that while its initial partnership with Akaysha was formed with a 1.7GWh BESS supply agreement, the Waratah Super Battery supply contract is independent of that deal.
Earlier this year, Akaysha was an acquisition target for BlackRock, the world’s biggest asset manager, with BlackRock committing to invest at least AU$1 billion (US$670 million) into the developer. At the time, Akaysha was said to have nine large-scale BESS projects in development adding up to 1GW in total.
The US company’s Centipede BESS platform, which allows customers to combine Powin Stack 750 battery units up to very large configurations, is being used. The Super Battery will require a total of 2,592 Centipede “segments” and 288 power conversion system (PCS) units from EKS Energy, the Spanish power electronics specialist Powin recently acquired.
The system will perform its grid buffer role through a System Integrity Protection Scheme (SIPS) contract, for which Akaysha Power must ensure 700MW/1,400MWh is available, but the remaining capacity of the BESS could be used in energy arbitrage or wholesale markets.
Construction of the project will begin next year, pending approvals, so that it can be online by 2025, in time for the retirement of New South Wales’ Eraring coal power station.
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