EnergyAustralia has announced it is calling for a project partner for the Wooreen Energy Storage System, which at 350MW and four hours of storage will likely be the biggest battery installation in the country – depending on the success and timing of other projects.
The Wooreen battery, to be located next to the Jeeralang gas power station in Latrobe Valley, is part of EnergyAustralia’s planning for the closure of the Yallourn brown coal generator in 2028, and was first announced in March.
It plans to complete the 350MW/1400MWh battery by 2026. It says it will be the first four hour utility scale battery in the country, but that may no longer be true by 2026 given other projects also in the pipeline.
EnergyAustralia also says Wooreen will be bigger than any battery operating in the world today, but that also ignores the recently expanded 400MW/1600MWh Moss Landing battery in California.
“The Wooreen Energy Storage System … will provide cover for more than 230,000 Victorian households for four hours before being recharged,” EnergyAustralia’s chief operating officer Liz Westcott said in a statement.
“Its quick release during periods of high demand will provide immense value in maintaining supply and keeping costs down for customers.”
EnergyAustralia currently contracts two of the operating big battery projects in Victoria, the 25MW/50MWh Gannawarra battery located next to the solar farm of the same name (pictured above), and the 30MW/30MWh Ballarat big battery located at the regional city’s terminal station.
It has also agreed to a contract for the 250MW Kidston pumped hydro plant currently under construction in north Queensland, also located next to a solar farm and using the pit of an old gold mine, and which will be the first new pumped hydro project in Australia for nearly 40 years when complete in 2024.
EnergyAustralia says it is seeking expressions of interest to “engineer, procure and construct” the new battery, and says it has already conducted preliminary feasibility studies and has consulted with the local community, including Latrobe City Council and the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC).
The name of the battery, Wooreen, is the Gunaikurnai word for “light”, and its use has been endorsed by the local elders.
“We are now embarking on a more comprehensive program of talking and hearing from members of the local community about the Wooreen project. We understand that any project we pursue must be good for the community and the environment,” Westcott said.
The project’s planning and environmental investigations will continue through the remainder of the year with a planning application expected to be made to the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning in the first quarter of 2022.
See RenewEconomy’s Big Battery Storage Map of Australia