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Northern Territory launches tender for up to 45MW grid-scale battery storage

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The Northern Territory government has called for expressions of interest to build what could be the world’s second biggest big battery – a large-scale energy storage system of between 25-45MW to support the grid in Darwin and Katherine.

The document, issued last week by Territory Generation, calls for design parameters of 25MW, 35MW, and 45MW power outputs, with an energy storage of 30 minutes — and alternatives of up to an extra hour — at the rated capacity.

According to an ABC News report, the tender document says that the battery would need to be able to supply power during periods of large solar PV capacity loss, such as on cloudy days.

In particular, it would be used to balance supply from large-scale solar farms connected to the Darwin-Katherine power network, as well as from rooftop solar – the installed capacity of which are expected to increase as the Territory transitions its electricity network to 50 per cent renewable energy by 2050.

As we reported here, the NT government in late November endorsed an 86-page Roadmap to Renewables Report it had commissioned back in 2016.

The roadmap charts a slow, and cautious route to take the Territory’s three grids, currently 96 per cent powered by gas and diesel generation, to an installed total of 450MW renewables, from just over 36MW today.

As part of its endorsement, the NT government pledged to provide $750,000 to the Territory-owned utility, Power Water, to develop “a dynamic system model” to integrate increasing levels of renewable energy into the grid in a stable and predictable way.

It has also pledged to spend $4.5 million on household grants of up to $1000 to encourage rooftop solar uptake – currently installed on just 6 per cent of households, compared to 14 per cent on average.

Once the successful bid is selected, NT battery system stands to be the second largest in the world if built with a capacity of more than 30MW. The largest, of course, is the 100MW Big Battery built by Tesla alongside Neoen’s Hornsdale wind farm in South Australia.

As for the contenders to develop the NT battery project, there appears to have been no shortage of interest.

The NT government tender page lists an impressive number of prospective tenderers, including Tesla, ABB, BYD and Siemens.

The tender closes in just over one week, on January 22.  

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  • John Saint-Smith

    6% rooftop solar in the NT! i’m glad to see that the government has belatedly got behind the project, but haven’t Territorians been able to access the same national subsidy schemes available to the states for the past decade? The ACT has been very active, conservative Queensland leads the nation for percentage of installed rooftop solar.

    Could it be ‘too many temporary public servants who rent, or don’t plan to stay long enough to benefit from the electricity cost savings, or is it simply a case of workers on contracts that include electricity subsidies?

    Whatever the case, it is very encouraging that they plan to catch up.

    • George AD

      It’s partly due to the high number renting, and the number in government owned housing. That doesn’t mean it’s not disappointing, and that the NT government shouldn’t do something about it. The NT should have solar on virtually every rooftop.

      • Jennifer

        Goo-g-le is paying 97$ per ho-u-r,with weekly p-a-youts.You can also avail th-i-s.O-n tuesday I got a brand new Land Rover Range Rover from havi-n-g earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-co-m-fortable job I have ever done .. It soun-d-s unbelievable but you wont f-o-rgive yourself if you don’t check it!ve421r:↠↠↠ http://GoogleNewNetJobsMapCareerPartTimeJobs/get/hourly ♥♥♥k♥m♥y♥♥♥g♥♥♥h♥r♥♥♥o♥♥t♥♥♥y♥i♥♥m♥♥q♥v♥u♥♥s♥♥♥k♥♥♥c♥y♥l♥♥♥t♥♥♥q♥♥k♥♥♥i♥♥n♥♥♥e:::::!de69l:lw

      • Ian

        Interesting problem, solar on rented homes and government housing has not been pursued much anywhere in Australia. The huge difference between wholesale and retail electricity prices is the driver of homeowner solar installation. If our electricity price was similar to the 12c/kWh experienced in the USA then how many would bother installing solar?

        Take that savings factor out of the equation with rented or subsidised government housing then what is the benefit of highly distributed solar? On the individual level there is no savings to this and on the societal level there is no mobilisation of people’s capital to achieve renewables deployment. You might as well build large scale solar and wind farms with large scale battery storage and very occasionally use large scale diesel or gas back-up. The NT grid needs are relatively small , so most of the time solar plus daily battery cycling would be adequate , with any multi day backup made up with diesel or gas standby units.

        • Ren Stimpy

          Ice storage?

          • Ian

            Thank you for asking. Ice storage for air conditioning eg ice bear. For such a hot climate air conditioning would be a major domestic and commercial load. This would be more a demand management strategy.

  • frostyoz

    Energy storage is measured in MWh. Power output is measured in MW.
    45MW power for 30 minutes is 22.5MWh of energy storage. This compares with:
    – 129MWh Hornsdale Power Reserve;
    – 120MWh Escondido (SDG&E/AES);
    – 80MWh Mira Loma (SCE/Tesla);
    – 30MWh El Cajon (SDG&E/AES);
    – 26MWh Escondido (SDG&E/Powin);
    Yes, putting a battery into the Katherine system is a great idea, but let’s not get our apples and oranges mixed up.

    • So, the tender documents are quite clear. whey want certain capacity, and with varying options for storage. As the story says, it could be 90 mins, so storage could be 77MWh. Apples and oranges have not been mixed. Remember, South Australia tendered for 100MW, and about an hour. 129MWh was only decided by final configuration of winning bid. Same with virtually all tenders.

      • Andy Saunders

        So a slightly gilded lily there, given that at 77MWh it would be the 4th largest…

      • frostyoz

        And, according to credible reports, what the SA Government received was 70MW for 12 minutes, or about 13MWh. Neoen got the rest (30MW for 3.5 hours, or 116MWh).

      • Brunel

        Why does the article say Jan 22 instead of 22 Jan?

  • Joe

    NT, another Australian opportunity for the Elon. The Elon has done the business in SA, signed up to do Victoria….NT is just waiting to join the Aussie big battery club.

    • Ian

      If you don’t have a bird feeder you won’t attract the birds. These battery systems may be small but they serve an immediate grid stabilising function and a larger battery market support function. One big Tesla battery in SA and now everybody wants one.

      • Joe

        Imma liking birds and yes you are right….I get Aussie native birds feeding on the Aussie native plants in my yard. If only NSW, my home state, would get onboard with a big battery. But our State Energy Minister Harwin hasn’t come round to the idea….COAL is The King here in NSW. Perhaps our old Coalers, like Liddell, clapping out again in a coming heatwave will give the Harwin pause to think about a big battery.

  • joono

    What PWC and TGen should be doing is installing distributed battery systems on the distribution grids, 5 x 10MW/10MWh systems, rather than a single 45MW system. The stated aim is to reduce the amount of spinning reserve, which is high on the Darwin-Katherine grid.