Victoria network operator Powercor on Wednesday switched on Australia’s largest grid-scale battery storage installation south of Ballarat, where it will provide 3,000 customers with up to one hour of back-up power during a power outage.
The 2MW battery storage facility is the first of its kind to be directly connected to a grid in Australia. Housed in a 40-foot shipping container, it was officially switched on by Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio, although it won’t be “fully operational” until mid year.
Powercor said the $8 million system, built in South Korea, would be used to test how a grid-scale battery installed on the right part of the network can help reduce stress on the network, improve reliability of supply and reduce maintenance costs.
The system is located on a “rural long feeder” in Buninyong, south of Ballarat, and could help defer network upgrades and meet peak capacity needs.
“The project will allow us to determine if using the installation of grid-scale batteries on the network will successfully increase capacity temporarily during peak demand periods,” said Steven Neave, General Manager of Electricity Networks, Powercor Australia.
“This is a fantastic piece of new technology, and I commend Powercor for their vision in looking at a very innovative battery storage technology that will actually increase the reliability of the electricity supply,” D’Ambrosio told media at the launch.
“It’s a fantastic outcome for consumers in this part of Victoria …this is the way of the future and I’m really excited to see that Powercor … is looking at those new battery storage technologies as an alternative to the traditional methods of upgrading powerlines, to not only improve reliability of electricity but also the capacity of electricity that is being supplied through the grid.
“We know that electricity demand is increasing, especially during the very hot summer months, when people turn on their air conditioners to stay comfortable and it so important that at those particular times that we have the additional capacity that is now going to be stored in these battery devices.”
D’Ambrosio said the government would keep a watch on how battery storage technology could be applied at grid and household level.
She noted that households can now “make their own energy through rooftop solar” and store that renewable energy for use it at a different time of the day or night when they most need it.
“This is a fantastic new age of the way electricity is used – the way it is produced, and the way it is used the way it is stored,” the minister said.
“We are going to see some massive transformation of the way all of us relate to energy in the coming years and I’m very excited that in Victoria we’ve got leading businesses such as Powercor that are starting to think about the role of battery storage and the role it can play in our energy future.”