Lake Bonney battery charges up for first time in South Australia

The Lake Bonney battery has charged up for the first time, marking the entry of the third big battery in the renewable energy state of South Australia’s main grid.

The 25MW/52MWh battery, owned and operate by Infigen Energy and located next to its 275MW Lake Bonney wind farm, soaked up about 21MW of demand in the 1130 interval on Wednesday, and 4.2MW in the following half hour period as it entered a next phase of testing before final commissioning.

About two hours later, it injected similar amounts back into the grid – so testing both its charging and discharging, load and generation. (Ironically, the load was done at around $50/MWh, and the discharge at minus $40/MWh. Clearly this is just testing because it will want to do it the other way around and charge at negative prices and discharge at higher prices).

The Lake Bonney battery – like just about every other wind, solar and battery project in Australia’s main grid – has experienced delays in connection and commissioning. It was expected to be online more than six months ago, but was only “energised and registered” last month. 

Infigen Energy expects the commissioning to be complete in the next month or two, and first revenues – likely sourced from the FCAS market and storage and arbitrage – to all begin before Christmas. It is using Tesla Powerpack batteries.

The battery will add to the increasing dispatchable resources available to the Australian Energy Market Operator for this coming summer.

These include the original “Tesla big battery”, the 100MW/129MWh facility at the Hornsdale wind farm that remains the world’s biggest, and the 30MW/8MWh Dalrymple North battery next to the Wattle Point wind farm on the Yorke Peninsula.

AGL this week formally opened its 210MW fast-start gas generators at Barker Inlet, which will replace the ageing and slow-moving units at the Torrens Island A facility.

Over the longer term, a new 10MW/10MWh battery is being built and will soon be commissioned at the Lincoln Gap wind farm, and Sanjeev Gupta’s Simec Zen Energy plans a bigger 135MW battery at Port Augusta.

Tilt Renewables is also considering a 20MW/40MWh battery at its Snowtown wind park and Alinta has also signed up to a huge solar and battery park.

Giles Parkinson

Giles Parkinson is founder and editor of Renew Economy, and is also the founder of One Step Off The Grid and founder/editor of The Driven. Giles has been a journalist for 35 years and is a former business and deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review.

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