The clock is rapidly ticking down on the Victoria government’s plans to have two large scale battery storage projects in place by January 1, but the winners of the much-heralded battery storage tender – which attracted more than 100 proposals – is still not known.
An announcement had been due at the end of August, and enquiries by RenewEconomy since then have elicited a response of “in a few weeks”. Victoria energy minister Lily d’Ambrosio said much the same when asked by RenewEconomy at the All Energy conference in Melbourne this week.
D’Ambrosio said the decision remains “in the hands of the independent panel,” although it is not clear whether no decisions have been made, or whether any announcement is awaiting the conclusions of contract negotiations with the preferred tenderers, as some in the industry have suggested.
The Victoria battery storage projects were considered to be an important element of the Australian Energy market Operator’s suite of tools to manage the grid this coming summer – the first for the state since the closure of the Hazelwood brown coal generator earlier this year.
The Tesla big battery – 100MW/129MWh next to the Hornsdale wind farm in South Australia – is due to be on line by December 1. Victoria was hoping to have two 20MW batteries, with combined storage of 100MWh, in place by January 1.
Another proposed battery storage project – the 20MW/34MWh battery to be built next to Nectar Farms planned vegetable greenhouse near Stawell,which it will power with an adjoining wind farm, was not a candidate for this tender.
Other battery storage projects are springing up across the country. A 30MW/8MWh battery storage project is being built near the Wattle Point wind farm in South Australia, while a 5MWh storage project connected to the new Lakeland solar project is due to open soon in north Queensland.
The hunger for storage continues apace. South Australia attracted nearly 100 proposals for its tender, Victoria got more than 100 proposals for its tender, and Queensland received 6,000MW of energy storage proposals in its “Renew400” tender, although this included solar thermal and pumped hydro.
A new South Australian tender for its Renewable technology Fund, seeking “next-gen” renewables and storage, also attracted huge interest when that tender close two weeks ago.