Shell battery project in New South Wales would add 1GWh energy storage to growing market


Development of battery systems to help integrate renewables and boost grid reliability continues to pick up pace in New South Wales, Australia, with Shell announcing a 1,000MWh project.

Just last week, reported on two large-scale battery energy storage system (BESS) projects in the state: the Waratah Super Battery 700MW/1,400MWh transmission system “shock absorber” supported by funding from the state government, and a proposed 500MW BESS from energy generator-retailer EnergyAustralia.

The two are at very stages of the development process, with the Waratah project’s tendering underway and contracts being signed, and the EnergyAustralia project in feasibility studies. Both however speak to the rapidly growing interest in energy storage in New South Wales (NSW).

Shell Energy Australia, the local subsidiary of the Dutch oil and gas-focused energy company, is partnering with AMPYR Australia on its own 500MW/1,000MWh BESS project in Wellington, in Central West NSW.

The BESS would be connected to an existing substation of high voltage transmission system operator and manager Transgrid at Wellington, as well as being adjacent to Central West Orana Renewable Energy Zone (REZ).

The location close to the REZ speaks to a wider trend sweeping the NSW energy sector – and of Australia more generally. Like other states in the country, NSW is developing various regional REZ projects, hubs combining multiple renewable energy technologies connected to the transmission system.

The battery system will therefore help integrate variable renewable generation from solar PV and wind, as well as providing network-balancing services like frequency regulation. It could also, like the Waratah Super Battery, also provide a buffer to ensure system security in the event of power surges or other disruptions.

Shell and AMPYR are jointly developing the project and are apparently more than a year and a half into the process. An Environmental Impact Statement is expected to be published during October.

The pair will begin construction in the middle of 2023, if the Wellington BESS project can get necessary regulatory approvals, authorisation and financing. Shell would hold the rights to charge and dispatch of the asset, which would be connected to the National Electricity Market (NEM).

The project is five times the size of another BESS project Shell is working on in the state with renewable energy and storage developer-investor Edify Energy, a 100MW/200MWh project which will be used to directly help power schools, communities and medical facilities with power.

Edify, also behind a lot of other battery projects in NSW, is owned by the state’s government. Shell has operational rights to a 60MW/120MWh portion of the pair’s Riverina BESS project. That project is part of a 300MWh portfolio for which financing was secured in June this year.

Our colleagues at PV Tech recently noted that the NSW government is targeting 12GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030. AMPYR’s director Ben Salmon said that the Central West region of the state alone has more than 3GW of utility-scale wind and solar in development, construction, or already in operation.

The government has made energy storage a critical part of its push and its overall energy transition and electrification strategies included in various policy and technology planning roadmaps.

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