The company behind plans to build 2GW of big battery capacity around Australia, including a 1,200MW project in the New South Wales Hunter Valley, has announced a new grid-scale battery for South Australia, to be built on the site of the former Holden car manufacturing plant on the outskirts of Adelaide.
CEP.Energy, a company chaired by former NSW Labor premier Morris Iemma, said on Tuesday that the newly announced big battery project, known as the Lionsgate Energy Storage System (LESS), would have a capacity of 150MW, with a storage duration as yet unspecified, pending a decision on the technology to be used.
The plan to build the big battery at the Lionsgate Business Park follows CEP.Energy’s February announcement that it would build the “world’s biggest battery” – 1,200MW – at the industrial centre of Kurri Kurri in the Hunter Valley, where the Morrison government has its own plans to build a new gas-fired generator.
And there will be more to come, with the two projects said to be part of a planned network of four big grid-scale batteries across the country with a total capacity of 2,000MW.
The development of the Lionsgate big battery was announced by CEP.Energy off the back of a 45-year lease agreement with Pelligra Group, the current owners of the iconic former GMH factory site in the outer northern Adelaide suburb of Elizabeth.
CEP.Energy had been in discussions with Pelligra over leasing a portion of the property giant’s millions of square metres of commercial and industrial roofspacem as part of a separate but equally ambitious plan to build and operate up to 1.5GW of commercial and industrial rooftop solar and storage systems, starting with a 400MW “virtual power plant.”
This is a plan CEP still intends to pursue, alongside its grid-scale battery plans, in partnership with SmartestEnergy Australia – a subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Marubeni – which will manage and operate the aggregated VPP.
CEP said on Tuesday that it had also agreed with Pelligra to lease up to p to 200,000 square metres of rooftop at the 122-hectare Lionsgate Business Park site, on which it will develop a solar system of up to 24MW of capacity, which would make it the largest such PV system in Australia.
Pelligra’s plans for Lionsgate include transforming it into a modern hub for green industrial, manufacturing, construction and engineering. Current tenants include German battery storage manufacturer Sonnen Group.
“Pelligra’s vision for the Lionsgate Business Park fits perfectly with the CEP’S business strategy to stimulate new jobs and economic activity in major manufacturing and commercial hubs by reducing operating costs,” CEP.Energy’s CEO Peter Wright said.
“The Lionsgate site is zoned industrial and has the all-important existing grid connection capacity. Large scale storage within the South Australian distribution network will assist with the management of local network voltages and solar supply peaks and troughs,” he said.
“Our plan is to develop a centre for the next generation of industrial businesses driven by rapid developments in skills and technology,’’ added Pelligra Group chair Ross Pelligra.
“The agreement with CEP for the on-site battery will deliver Lionsgate tenants cost-effective energy generated on the roof-tops above.”
South Australia energy minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan welcomed the news of the new big battery – set to be the state’s sixth grid-scale battery – as a fantastic initiative to transform the former Holden site.
“The combination of a large solar array, grid scale battery and virtual power plant on a large industrial site fits perfectly with our government’s energy policy,” he said.
“This style of project will deliver value for the tenants as well as all other South Australian electricity consumers by reducing peak demand on the grid.”
CEP’s Iemma said the Pelligra Group’s redevelopment of the former GMH site was a great example of turning an old manufacturing plant into a modern business district.
“This project will generate new jobs in an area where they are much-needed and will be powered by solar power,’’ he said.
“Given energy costs make up about a third of manufacturer’s costs, the CEP.Energy offer will increase viability and deliver jobs.”