Tesla and Fluence to supply 55MW/80MWh of battery storage to Victoria, including solar farm retrofit

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Credit: ARENA

Tesla and Fluence are to supply the south-east Australian state of Victoria’s first two large-scale, grid-connected energy storage batteries, one of which will be connected to an existing solar farm.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will match the AU$25 million (US$19.31 million) by the Victorian Government to jointly fund the lithium-ion battery projects as part of the Victorian energy storage initiative. Both projects are aimed at helping to ease constraints on transmission lines in Western Victoria where energy generation from existing wind and solar farms is being curtailed.

Half the funding will go towards a 25MW/50MWh battery co-located and integrated with the 60MW Gannawarra Solar Farm, near Kerang. The battery will be supplied by Tesla and then owned by Edify Energy and its partner Wirsol. It will show how existing PV projects can be successfully retrofitted with battery storage.

Wirsol said this project features a first-of-its-kind long-term commercial services agreement with the utility EnergyAustralia, who will operate the battery in conjunction with its offtake from the Gannawarra Solar Farm. Once complete, it will be among the largest integrated solar and storage facilities in the world and the largest in Australia.

The other half of the funding will go to a consortia led by Spotless Sustainability Services for a 30MW/30MWh grid-connected battery at a terminal station in Warrenheip, Ballarat. Fluence, which was launched jointly by global engineering giant Siemens and energy storage system integrator and developer AES last year, will supply the battery, which will then be owned by AusNet. The Ballarat transmission terminal is heavily congested so the battery will be able to offer grid stability and reduce the need for expanding the substation. Moreover, the battery will help to increase the amount of energy supplied by surrounding wind and solar generation, at reduced cost.

Both batteries will be operated by EnergyAustralia under long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs). Construction is scheduled to start this month, with both batteries to be commissioned in time for the summer peak.

Edify Energy CEO John Cole said: “The team has worked tirelessly to overcome many regulatory, technical and commercial challenges and create a very cool project – one that can deploy solar power at night. Without a doubt as the cost of battery storage falls, we see solar and storage becoming a ‘category killer’ in the energy sector and accelerating Australia’s transition to a clean energy future.”

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said: “ARENA is excited to be demonstrating the capabilities that these new batteries will provide in securing reliable electricity for western Victoria and to facilitate the Victoria’s transition to renewable energy. Battery storage will play a crucial role in the future energy mix, alongside other forms of storage and in conjunction with variable renewables and demand management.”

Minister Josh Frydenberg said: “Storage has been the missing piece of the energy jigsaw for a long time. Whether it’s Snowy 2.0 in New South Wales and Victoria, the Battery of the Nation projects in Tasmania or various initiatives, including a 30MW battery, in South Australia, we are expanding, exploring and funding energy storage right across the country.”

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