The New South Wales government has amended legislation to allow for stand-alone battery storage systems, a move that it expected to pave the way for multiple big batteries that no longer have to be co-located with a wind or solar farm, or other generator.
NSW has trailled behind other states – particularly South Australia and Victoria – in the uptake of big batteries, primarily because planning approvals made it difficult – requiring big batteries to be sited next to existing wind and solar farms, rather than where they might also be needed near load centres, nodes, and network installations.
The change – recorded as the State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) Amendment (Energy Storage Technology) 2020 under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 – is simple enough, adding the words “electricity storage” to the allowable development applications.
Previously, the act had restricted the allowable developments to just “making or generating electricity.” It now reads:
for the “purpose of”
(a) making or generating electricity, or
(b) electricity storage.
The NSW government is expected to make a formal statement on Thursday, but the amendment is clearly going to be good news for the many different groups looking to add battery storage to their portfolios, with the biggest being AGL Enegy, which has contracted Maoneng to build 200MW and 400MWh of battery storage in four different locations by 2023.
AGL has already hailed the “dawn of the battery age”, and has also signed up to another 100MW/150MWh big battery in Queensland, adjacent to the Wandoan solar farm which could grow to 1,000MW.
Others looking at battery storage include Origin Energy, including two potential projects in NSW, and a range of renewable energy developers that are considering battery storage as co-development opportunities for existing and new wind and solar farms, but not necessarily within the same facility which can present complications for registration, contracting, ownership and legal issues.
South Australia has three big batteries already in place – at Hornsdale, Dalrymple North and Lake Bonney – and another built and waiting to be commissioned at Lincoln Gap. All are built adjacent to wind farms, but operate as stand alone facilities.
Victoria has two large scale batteries – at Gannawarra next to the solar farm of the same name, and at a key Ballarat network node – with another on its way at Bulgana, next to a wind farm – and others proposed to provide a “virtual” upgrade to the main transmission link to NSW. One of those proposals is for a 600MW Victoria big battery near Geelong.
Qiao Han, vice president at Maoneng, said the change in legislation “is really going to accelerate BESS (battery energy storage systems) development in NSW, so that assets like Liddell can be properly displaced when the time comes.”
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