Plans to double the storage capacity of the big battery component of 1414 Degrees’ Aurora Energy Project have won state government backing, with the Crown Sponsorship extended to support the construction of a bigger big battery.
The ASX-listed thermal energy storage hopeful last month flagged plans to increase the storage capacity of the Port Augusta project to 140MWh, and hold off on the solar component, to improve the project’s business case.
1414 Degrees, or 14D, picked up the abandoned Aurora Solar Tower Project in late 2019 as part of a deal to acquire the Australian assets of the failed US developer, SolarReserve. At that time, the project had development approval for a 150MW concentrated solar thermal plant and a 70MW solar PV plant.
14D had proposed to use the site to pilot its silicon-based thermal energy storage system, or TESS-GRID technology, which it said could deliver electricity firming services to similar scale as the solar power tower project (135MW of effective capacity and eight hours of storage).
That plan was eventually revised to a project of several phases, the first featuring 70MW of solar and a 70MW/70MWh battery energy storage system, the second featuring the company’s proprietary TESS technology which is intended to provide over 1GWh of grid-scale storage.
But in an ASX update in April, the company said it had revised the modelling, again, to identify the highest return-lowest risk outcome for shareholders. As a result, it had decided that boosting the BESS size from 70MW/70MWh to 140MWh would deliver higher revenue streams from merchant generation and FCAS.
“Additional energy market expertise has been brought into the team, particularly to refine the business case modelling of spot energy prices and Frequency Control Ancillary Service (FCAS) revenues,” the announcement said.
“The BESS will be positioned for further revenue upside from merchant and FCAS as thermal power stations continue to exit the market due to renewable penetration and low wholesale electricity prices.”
This week, 14D said the South Australian government Crown Sponsorship for the Aurora Energy Project had been extended to support the increase of the battery storage component, including its eventual planned expansion to 140MW/280MWh.
“Crown Sponsorship was provided for the original project scope of 150MW concentrated solar power and 70MW solar and was extended in February 2021 to include 70MW of battery storage and 2MW thermal energy storage,” the statement said.
“Crown Sponsorship has now been approved to increase the battery storage component from 70MW/70MWh to 140MW/140MWh in the initial stage, increasing to 140MW/ 280MWh in later stages.”