Australia’s biggest battery, the Victorian Big Battery near Geelong, has discharged at its full 300MW capacity for the first time, setting what is believed to be a new global benchmark.
The milestone was announced via Twitter – appropriately enough for a battery using Tesla technology – by Victoria energy minister Lily D’Ambrosio, who played a key role in finalising the 10-year contract between owners Neoen and the Australian Energy Market Operator.
The milestone also means that the VBB will be fully commissioned in time for summer, despite the setback and delays from the fire that erupted in one of its Tesla Megapack containers in July, just hours after initial testing had begun.
The VBB has a rated capacity of 300MW and 450MWh, making it more than twice the size of the original “Tesla big battery” at Hornsdale in South Australia, which is also owned by Neoen.
The Vic Big Battery just hit a major milestone, discharging 300 MW for the first time as it begins final testing.
That's the most battery power ever injected into the Australian grid!
— Lily D'Ambrosio MP (@LilyDAmbrosioMP) November 12, 2021
The VBB will reserve 250MW/125MWh of its battery to the AEMO contract, which it will use to boost the capacity of the main interconnector between Victoria and NSW at times of peak demand over the summer period.
For the rest of the time, the VBB will play in the frequency control and arbitrage markets, and its impact will be interesting to see given its size, and the recent shift to 5-minute settlements, which favours fast moving technology.
The VBB will actually be able to deliver up to 600MW to the market because it can, in a fraction of a second, switch from charge to discharge, and vice versa, if needed by the market.
It is the fourth big battery in Victoria, following the smaller Gannawarra and Ballarat batteries, both contracted to EnergyAustralia, and the Bulgana battery, also owned and operated by Neoen.
There are another three big batteries in South Australia – Hornsdale, Lake Bonney and Dalrymple – and the first big batteries have now been built and are undergoing commissioning in NSW (Wallgrove) and Queensland (Wandoan).
That makes a total of less than 1GW or just over 1GWh of battery storage, but there is another 28GW of battery storage projects in the pipeline.
See also: Big Battery Storage Map of Australia