Testing and commissioning at the Victoria Big Battery in Victoria has resulted in new records for battery charging and discharging, believed to be world-leading.
The Victoria Big Battery, which had its commissioning suspended in late July when a fire broke out in one of its Tesla Megapack containers in initial testing, will be the country’s biggest battery at 300MW/450MWh when it is fully operational in time for the summer peaks.
A couple of weeks ago it set a new Australian output record as it ramped up testing, and on Monday it set another new benchmark as it was allowed to progress to a new “hold point” – where the market operator progressively assesses the performance of a new installation and its impact on the grid.
As illustrated in this graph below – courtesy of Paul McArdle at NEM Review – it charged at 205MW shortly after 8am and then a short time later discharged at 250MW, giving an insight into its potential impact on the local grid and the wholesale market.
The swing in this instance, from charge to discharge, of more than 455MW gives it enormous flexibility and a useful resource for the market operator.
The Victorian Big Battery has a 10 year contract to use its resources to expand the capacity of the main transmission link between Victoria and NSW, which will allow more electricity to be imported during periods of peak demand in the summer.
That $12 million a year contract accounts for around 250MW and 125MWh of its capacity, while the rest of the battery will be able to play in the arbitrage market, buying or charging at low prices and selling at higher prices when demand jumps, and delivering crucial services such as frequency control.
The VBB is owned and operated by Neoen, which also owns the original Tesla big battery at Hornsdale (now 150MW/194MWh), and the 20MW/34MWh Bulgana battery in Victoria.
Neoen is also contracted to building a big battery in Canberra, and has multiple big battery plans in Queensland (Kaban and Western Downs), NSW and South Australia (Goyder South and Crystal Brook).