French renewables and battery storage developer Neoen says it has begun construction of a 100MW/200MWh big battery in the Australian Capital Territory, after doubling the size of the project because of emerging market opportunities.
Neoen is Australia’s most successful investor in battery storage, having built the original “Tesla big battery” at the Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia, which was then the world’s biggest, and then expanding that facility, adding another at Bulgana in Victoria, and last week opening the 300MW/450MWh Victorian Big Battery, now the country’s biggest.
Now Neoen has begun construction of the 100MW Capital battery, which will have two hours of storage and will be double the size of the battery canvassed in its 2020 tender win with the ACT government.
And, for the first time, Neoen is not using Tesla technology, having on this occasion gone with Doosan, which is also completing the first big battery in Queensland, the 100MW/150MWh Wandoan facility.
In a brief statement, Neoen said:
“Neoen committed to building a 50MW large-scale battery in the nation’s capital as part of its winning bid in ACT Government’s 2020 renewable energy auction, in which it was awarded a 14-year contract to supply 100 MW of wind energy from Stage 1 of Goyder Renewables Zone.
“In response to the emerging market for battery services, Neoen has decided to increase the size of the Capital Battery to 100MW/200MWh.”
Neoen did not provide any further comment, but it is fair to assume that given the length of battery storage – two hours, more than it has included in any of its three completed big batteries – that it is eyeing opportunities in energy arbitrage, or time shifting the output of wind and solar.
Neoen’s three batteries to date have had storage ranging from just over one hour to 1.5 hours in the case of Bulgana and VBB. That’s because it has targeted grid services such as frequency control, and allowing the market operator to boost the operating capacity of transmission links between states.
The battery storage industry in general is expected to move to longer hours of storage as more opportunities emerge in time shifting renewables, but this depends on market volatility (buying, or charging, at low prices and selling, or discharging, at higher prices).
It also reflects the fact that some of the battery capacity can be reserved for grid services, and the rest can focus on arbitrage.
That’s the case of the Victorian Big Battery, which over summer will reserve 250MW/125MWh of capacity to AEMO, but leave another 100MW and 325MWh, or more than three hours storage, for arbitrage. It will be fascinating to see how that plays out over coming months.
Neoen said that the Capital Battery takes Neoen’s Australian storage portfolio to 576MW in operation or under construction, which it says cements the company’s leadership in large-scale battery storage.
The Capital battery is located next to TransGrid’s Queanbeyan substation, which is in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). It will be in operation in early 2023.
“We are excited to get started on our first project to be built in Canberra, where many of Neoen’s team are based, where all our Australian operating assets are managed from and where we are proud to consider ourselves part of the community,” said Neoen Australia managing director Louis de Sambucy.
The ACT has already reached its target of net 100 per cent renewables, and has commissioned more wind and solar projects, and battery storage for the first time, as it seeks to electrify and decarbonise other sectors such as transport and buildings.
As part of that 2020 tender, GPG will supply output from 100MW of the Stage 2 of the Berrybank Wind Farm in Victoria and will also construct a 10MW/20MWh battery in the ACT.
The ACT is also seeking another 250MW of distributed battery installation, with varying hours of storage, as part of a new tender for an ‘ecosystem’ that allows them to be coordinated and to operate as they were one big battery.
“The doubling of battery capacity to 100 MW is a great commitment and indicates the confidence in the market and the important role of batteries in modernising and stabilising the electricity network,” said Shane Rattenbury, ACT Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction.
There was no immediate word on when Neoen will begin construction of the 100MW wind project at Goyder South, which is expected to be the first stage of a massive wind, solar and battery project that could grow to 900MW/1800MWh of battery storage.
See also RenewEconomy’s updated Big Battery Storage Map of Australia
Good, independent journalism takes time and money. But small independent media sites like RenewEconomy have been excluded from the millions of dollars being handed out to big media companies from the social media giants. To enable us to continue to hold governments and big business to account on climate and the renewable energy transition, and to help us highlight the extraordinary developments in technology and projects that are taking place, you can make a voluntary donation here to help ensure we can continue to offer the service free of charge and to as wide an audience as possible. Thank you for your support.