South Australia’s second big battery goes live, charges up

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The 30 MW/8MWh big battery installed at the Dalrymple substation on SA’s Yorke Peninsula is live, connected to the national grid, and charging up, says ARENA.

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AGL's Dalrymple battery in South Australia.
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South Australia’s second grid-scale energy storage system, the 30 MW/8MWh big battery at the Dalrymple substation on the state’s Yorke Peninsula, is charging up, nine months after installation was completed in April 2018.

ARENA said on Wednesday that the $30 million Energy Storage for Commercial Renewable Integration (ESCRI) project – aka Dalrymple North Battery – had been commissioned and tested and was now live and connected to the National Electricity Market, “making important contributions to energy security and reliability in South Australia.”

The battery, which received $12 million in funding from the federal government’s renewable energy agency, was developed and is owned by transmission provider ElectraNet – owners of the substation – and will be operated by utility AGL Energy under a long-term lease agreement.

As we reported here last month, the battery is a different beast to the Tesla Big Battery, or Hornsdale Power Reserve.

As ElectraNet chief Steve Masters puts it, the ESCRI will be the first battery of its kind in the NEM to provide both regulated network services and competitive market services “to maximise value from its operation.”

On average, Masters says, it can provide backup power to 4500 local Dalrymple customers for 2-3 hours while connection to the grid is being restored.

As Giles Parkinson explained last month, the Darlymple North big battery is primarily designed for fast-frequency control services to help ease constraints on networks, for frequency control, and to “island” the local area and provide power to households and business in case of blackouts elsewhere.

And it is this last function – designed to allow the battery to tap the neighbouring 91MW Wattle Point wind farm, and local rooftop solar – that has apparently caused the delays in the battery’s progress.

Now that it is up and charging, however, ARENA acting CEO Nicola Morris said ESCRI would complement South Australia’s other batteries and reinforce Australia’s role as a leader in large-scale battery technology.

“We’re excited to see that the completion of the ESCRI battery has already helped inform the development of further battery projects around Australia,” she said.

“The ESCRI battery will provide storage to support renewable generation and will provide fast frequency response to stabilise the grid.

“It is clear that grid scale energy storage has a role to play our future energy mix. ESCRI demonstrates that utility scale batteries can deliver a range of market services and back up power when it is needed,” Morris said.

ARENA has funded four grid-scale batteries, including two batteries recently commissioned in Western Victoria and Infigen’s Lake Bonney battery currently under construction in South Australia.

Those interested can watch the progress of the battery on this ElectraNet site. At the time of publication, the ESCRI was at a 79 per cent level of charge, at 9.8MWh.

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