Another of Australia’s largest coal-fired generators is set to become host to a big battery system, with the Queensland government revealing that a 150MW, two hour battery will be co-located at the Tarong Power Station.
The 1,400MW Tarong power station is owned and operated by the state- owned Stanwell Corporation, and acting CEO Adam Aspinall said a feasibility study had already highlighted the benefits of installing new big batteries across south-east Queensland.
“As a business, we are investigating a range of future energy solutions to ensure we are in the best position possible to respond to changing market conditions,” Aspinall said.
“Our feasibility study found that there were commercial opportunities in locating a large-scale energy storage system in southern Queensland.”
The announcement comes just two days after the dramatic events and blackouts that followed the coal turbine explosion at Callide, leading to new calls for battery storage in Queensland which could improve the local grid’s defences against such events.
Tarong would join a number of coal plants that are set to become host to a big battery system with plans already underway to add batteries to the sites of the Loy Yang, Eraring, Liddell and already close Wallerewang power stations.
“By locating battery storage at Tarong Power Station, we can capitalise on existing land and connection infrastructure, support the investment in renewables within the region and help maintain system security and reliability,” Aspinall said in a statement.
“The project would also provide local employment opportunities, creating 80 full time jobs over the eight-month construction phase, and 6 full time jobs over the 20-year operation and maintenance phase.”
According to Stanwell, the planned battery would provide up to two hours of backup, or 300MWh of energy storage, and the company is expecting to have the battery operational by 2023.
Aspinall said that Stanwell could consider expanding the battery in the future.
“The opportunity to extend the battery’s storage capacity for further deployment between 2025 and 2030 would be considered at a later date,” Aspinall said.
“As a business, we are investigating a range of future energy solutions to ensure we are in the best position possible to respond to changing market conditions and to meet customer needs and community sentiment for greener products and lower emissions.”
“We are investigating a range of opportunities to incorporate technologies into our asset portfolio, including hydrogen, energy storage, wind, solar and bioenergy,” Aspinall added.
The Tarong power station is expected to close in the late 2030s and the former CEO of Stanwell Corporation, Richard Van Breda, was recently forced to step down after making comments that recognised that the company – which operates much of Queensland’s coal fired generation capacity – would need to prepare its workforce for plant closures.
The announcement of the Tarong battery comes as construction work at the state’s first big battery – a 100MW/150MWh facility in Darling Downs – continues.
Queensland energy minister Mick de Brenni said the Wandoan South Battery Energy Storage System was part of a wider ‘blitz’ to install big battery storage devices in Queensland.
“As part of our economic recovery plan, the Palaszczuk Government is delivering cheaper, cleaner and reliable energy for Queenslanders,” de Brenni said. “Large-scale battery storage completely changes the game for how our electricity system operates.”