CWP to test "merchant" big battery as part of Sapphire wind and solar hub | RenewEconomy

CWP to test “merchant” big battery as part of Sapphire wind and solar hub

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CWP says 30MW big battery to test the merchant opportunities for battery storage in Australia’s energy market, and may be expanded.

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CWP Renewables says the 30MW big battery that will be partly funded by the NSW government will test the merchant opportunities for battery storage in Australia’s energy market, as it looks to add a big solar farm to its existing 270MW Sapphire wind facility.

CWP and its Sapphire battery were one of four big new storage projects announced for funding by the NSW state government earlier this month, along with a gas/battery hybrid from Goldwind, a battery “virtual power plant” and another big battery in New England proposed by UPC/AC Energy..

Jason Willoughby, CWP’s CEO, told RenewEconomy that the 30MW battery would have one hour storage, so 30MWh, and would be used to test the market in frequency control, grid support and arbitrage. Depending on the results, the battery can be upscaled at a later date, particularly when the size of its proposed solar addition – possibly more than 200MW – is finalised.

CWP intends to install the big battery “behind the meter” and feed in to the same connection point as the Sapphire wind farm. That will involve a renegotiation of the wind projects GPS (generator performance standards) with Transgrid and the Australian Energy Market Operator.

Some in the market may view this as slightly heroic, given the changes in connection and commissioning requirements elsewhere in the grid, but Willoughby says discussions with the two organisation had been progressing well.

“Sapphire was always going to be a renewable energy hub, with solar and battery,” Willoughby told RenewEconomy. “The challenge for renewables is to provide a firm product. That’s what customers are looking for, a firm PPA (power purchase agreement) to match their load.

“Part of the solution for that is to have co-located wind, solar and battery. This battery is the next phase, and then we will look to solar to compliment that. We want to do this nice and methodically …  battery first, complimentary solar, and then maybe a bigger battery.
Willoughby says the “merchant battery” will help demonstrate the business case for batteries. “We want to discover where the revenue streams are, so we will start at a smaller scale.

CWP has chosen Wärtsilä, which acquired Greensmith Energy in 2017, as its technology partner, providing the turnkey engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of the battery facility.

Willoughby says the company is looking to reach financial close in the first quarter of 2021.

See also: NSW to fund four new big battery projects as it readies to flick switch from coal

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