AGL Energy has flagged plans to build a 200MW big battery – with fours storage – at the site of its Loy Yang A brown coal generator in Victoria as it continues to roll out its storage strategy across the country.
The news of the Victoria battery means that AGL will have big batteries in all four mainland states of the National Electricity Market. Last week it announced a 250MWh battery with up to four hours storage at the site of the Torrens Island gas generator in South Australia, it has already contracted for 200MW and 400MWh of battery storage in NSW, and a 100MW and 150MWh big battery at Wandoan in Queensland.
It may also build a 500MW big battery at the site of the Liddell coal generator in the Hunter Valley which is due to close in 2023, but the decision to build a big battery at Loy Yang A is significant.
It will be the first to be built at the site of an operating brown coal generator in Australia, and will be designed to take some of the pressure of the ageing equipment, and remove the need for the plant to make quick changes in output in response to changes in wind and solar.
It is also significant because, like the big battery proposed for Torrens Island, it will have four hours of storage, according to a report in the AFR, suggesting it will be used also to help meet peak demand, and further the incursions of battery technology into a space once dominated by peaking gas generators.
Battery storage is expected to play a more significant role as the national electricity market moves towards 5-minute settlements, favouring fast-responding technologies, and as more of its “value-stack” are recognised by the market.
Like the Torrens Island facility, the Loy Yang A battery will be developed in stages, initially with only an hour or two of storage and then with the full anticipated capacity, although this could change as the market develops.
It won’t be the biggest in Victoria, as that title will likely be taken by the Victorian big battery to be developed by Neoen, the owners of the Hornsdale Power Reserve, which at 150MW/194MWh remains the biggest battery in the country, at least for the moment.
Neoen’s Victoria big battery at Geelong will be sized at 300MW and 450MWh, most of it designed to increase the capacity of the main transmission link to NSW, a role that only requires half an hour of storage. That contract is for 200MW/125MWh.
The 200MW Loy Yang A battery will initially be smaller, but could overtake in storage capacity once the full four hour storage capacity is installed and its total capability increases to 800MWh, or the Torrens Island facility is expanded to 1,000MWh.
Neoen may then recapture the title of the country’s biggest battery as it develops its plans for the Goyder South project in South Australia, where it has talked of a big battery rated at 900MW and 1800MWh.
There are already two operating big batteries in Victoria, one at Gannawarra solar farm (25MW/50MWh), and another at Ballarat (30MW/30MWh). Both are operated by EnergyAustralia. Another (20MW/34MWh) is being commissioned by Neoen next to the Bulgana wind farm in the north west of the state.