Frontier expands solar and battery project as tender underlines falling cost for modules and storage

Credit: Christchurch Airport.

Western Australian renewables developer Frontier Energy says its planned Warren Renewable Energy project south of Perth is benefiting from falling prices for both battery storage and solar modules, and it has decided to expand the battery component because of it.

The original definitive feasibility study (DFS) proposed a 120MW solar project for stage one of the Waroona Renewable Energy Project with a four-hour 80MW battery.

However, Frontier Energy recently narrowed its battery technology selection to two potential partners, which it says resulted in a 12 per cent increase in battery duration to approximately 4.5 hours, while also resulting in a reduced capital cost for the battery by around 5 per cent.

It is now contemplating a battery with a nameplate capacity of 80MW/360MWh, up from the originally planned 80MW/320MWh.

“The company is in the fortunate position that the cost of the two largest capital items, solar panels and battery, have fallen significantly since the release of the DFS in February,” said Adam Kiley, Frontier Energy CEO.

“Battery prices have fallen due to a combination of factors, including falling raw materials prices, improvement in supply chain, and reportedly weaker than anticipated demand, resulting in an ample supply of batteries in the current market.

“This unique situation is to Frontier’s advantage, with improved battery capacity resulting in increased duration (approximately 4.5 hours compared to 4 hours in the DFS), increasing Project revenue while at the same time achieving a lower capital cost.

Image Credit: Frontier Energy

Frontier Energy acquired the Waroona Renewable Energy Project in late 2023, which had already secured development approvals for a 355MW project. The acquisition paired nicely with Frontier’s existing plans for a 120MW dual-fuel peaking plant proposed to use both natural gas and green hydrogen.

The company now controls two grid connections capable of exporting upwards of 1GW to the grid, as well as freehold landholding of 868 hectares for future solar expansion.

Frontier says it is still working on its funding strategy, with both debt financing and strategic partnering processes well advanced.

Located 120 kilometres south of Perth, the Waroona Renewable Energy Project would also be located approximately 11 kilometres from Frontier Energy’s proposed Bristol Springs dual-fuel peaking plant.

Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.

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