Australia’s biggest emitter and coal generator AGL says it has lodged a planning application to the Victorian government for a 200MW, four hour big battery at its Loy Yang A coal generator in the Latrobe Valley.
The battery is one of four big batteries that AGL is building on sites adjoining its principal coal, gas and solar generation assets in South Australia, Victoria and NSW, while it has also contracted more big batteries at Wandoan in Queensland and through Maoneng in NSW.
AGL has previously hailed the “dawn of the battery age” and signed an MOU with battery storage suppliers Fluence and Wartsila, and has already outlined plans to build 850MW of grid-scale batteries over the next three years.
The big batteries will add flexibility to its existing fleet of thermal, but also help lay the groundwork for the storage and dispatchable generation that will be needed as more coal and gas generators exit the grid.
The Loy Yang battery is one of three big batteries planned or under construction in Victoria, with the 300MW/450MWh Victoria big battery being built near Geelong by Neoen to provide critical grid support services, while EnergyAustralia plans a 350MW/1400MWh big battery by 2026, before the closure of its Yallourn coal plant.
Victoria already has two big batteries in operation – at the Gannawarra solar farm (25MW/50MWh) and at a Ballarat network junction (30MW/30MWh) – plus a big battery at the Bulgana wind farm (20MW/34MW) that is yet to be fully commissioned.
“This project will play a critical role in transforming the reliability of renewables in Victoria, providing essential firming capacity and storage,” AGL chief operating officer Markus Brokhof said in a statement.
“With the commissioning of Loy Yang A in 1985, the Latrobe Valley has a long and proud of history of generating electricity to thousands of Australian households and businesses.
“This project is part of both the AGL and regions’ transition and path to a lower emissions future. It is through low emission firming technologies like batteries that we can create sustainable energy for our customers as well as deliver on our Climate Statement commitments which include net-zero emissions by 2050.”
The biggest battery currently proposed by AGL will be a 250MW/1,000MWh battery at its Torrens Island gas-fired power station in South Australia, which will partially replace some of the capacity that is due to close in the next two years.
At Liddell, the black coal generator scheduled for closure in early 2023, AGL has already committed to a 150MW battery with one hour storage, although it is still mulling the potential to expand this to 500MW and four hours storage.
It is also working on a 50MW battery in Broken Hill, near the solar farm of the same name, and the Silverton wind farm which are owned through its jointly owned Powering Australia Renewables fund.
The 100MW/150MW Wandoan battery is already being built in Queensland, next to a proposed solar farm, while Maoneng has signed a contract for 200MW/400MWh of battery storage at various sites in NSW, including at the Sunraysia solar farm.
AGL already operates the 30MW/8MWh Dalrymple North battery in South Australia (pictured above), which is located next to the Wattle Point wind farm.
RenewEconomy sought further information from AGL about plans for battery storage, including the planning application for Loy Yang, but was told the document was not yet public.