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Synergy constructs second large-scale BESS at former coal plant site in Western Australia

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Utility Synergy has begun construction of its second large-scale battery project in Western Australia, as the company’s first nears its start of commercial operations.

The company, Western Australia’s largest generator-retailer (gen-tailer) of energy and in the ownership of the state government, said yesterday (3 July) that construction has begun on Kwinana Battery Energy Storage System 2 (KBESS2).

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It is located at the site of the former Kwinana Power Station, in the southern part of the Western Australian capital, Perth. It will be a 200MW/800MWh asset, and is scheduled for completion in the latter part of 2024.

KBESS2 is sited adjacent to Kwinana Battery Energy Storage System 1 (KBESS1), a 100MW/200MWh lithium iron phosphate (LFP) BESS which is currently going through its commissioning phase. In May, Western Australia’s (WA’s) then-state premier Mark McGowan announced the start of KBESS1’s operational testing.

Just a few days before that announcement, McGowan’s Labor Party administration had published its state budget for the 2023-2024 period. The budget committed to funding two further BESS projects following the first at Kwinana: KBESS 2, and a 500MW/2,000MWh system at Collie, the site of a coal-fired power plant.

Former naval officer McGowan made a shock resignation about a month ago, citing the strain of governing through a pandemic among his reasons.

Successor Roger Cook, also of Labor, said yesterday of KBESS 2’s construction start that his government “is getting on with delivering our plan for cleaner, reliable and affordable energy for Western Australia”.

“The start of construction for WA’s second grid-scale battery energy storage system is an important milestone in WA’s energy transformation. WA is a leader in the uptake of residential solar energy, and these big batteries help to ensure our energy system remains reliable as we transition away from coal-fired power.”

Energy minister Bill Johnston noted that WA is “unique in its energy security” due to its lack of interconnection to other networks, with the government’s investment into renewable energy and battery storage solutions a means of “safe-guarding the long-term resilience and flexibility of our electricity network”.

As with several other large-scale BESS projects around Australia, the Kwinana projects are helping to replace the role played by fossil fuels in the energy sector, while also leveraging the existing land, grid connection and associated transmission and distribution (T&D) infrastructure of a former power plant site.

WA’s government has allocated AU$625 million (US$417.8 million) for the KBESS 2 project, aka Kwinana Battery Stage Two. As with the first, it will be connected directly to the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) transmission grid.

In addition to the state’s recent budget committment to supporting the 2.8GWh of battery storage projects, French independent power producer (IPP) Neoen is building its own large-scale BESS in Collie.

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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