$41m giant grid-scale battery moves step closer

By Jason Irvine

Thursday saw the official sod-turning ceremony as AGL Energy’s $41 million grid-scale battery system moves another step closer to being switched on.

The 50-megawatt, 50-megawatt hour lithium-ion battery is set to be fully operational by mid-2023, and when switched on will provide the community with greater energy stability, and a world-leading example of renewable energy storage.

The battery will be built by global energy storage provider Fluence and its consortium partner Valmec, and will include inverter technology, capable of providing system strength services in weak parts of the grid, as well as adding to the stability of the wider electricity network.

AGL General Manager Energy Hubs, Travis Hughes, outlined the reasons behind the innovative project – which was first announced in March – and transitioning to a renewable future.

“It will provide safe, reliable, and sustainable energy to Broken Hill and the community beyond,” Mr Hughes said.

The grid-scale battery will be used to manage peaks and troughs in Broken Hill’s energy supply by balancing out any peaks.

“This is an example of the transition of the energy system, from grid-scale electricity, base-load electricity, as it moves to renewables,” Mr Hughes said.

The battery will be used in tandem with the Silverton Wind Farm and the Broken Hill and Nyngan Solar Farms to provide safe, sustainable, and renewable energy to the community.

“This is a really important step for us in our progression for the transition to renewable energy,” Mr Hughes said.

“We’ve got a number of other developments in the region and a battery adding to those wind and solar projects is an example of how the transition occurs.

“Battery technology is well-advanced and Australia’s a world leader actually in grid-scale batteries being deployed. The technology behind it really enables it to be integrated into the energy system and that’s what’s happening here.

“It’s a transition that’s happening over time, this is the next step, it’s a really important step for this region, with Broken Hill, but we have full confidence with the way it’ll integrate into the energy system.”

Broken Hill Mayor, Tom Kennedy, said the project was important for Broken Hill, and is expected to provide up to 50 jobs for engineers, tradespeople and other contractors during construction.

“This is obviously a very exciting project for AGL and its partners, but it’s also an exciting time for the community,” Mr Kennedy said.

“To see a $41 million project coming to fruition is extremely positive and shows AGL continues to share our confidence in the future of Broken Hill. It’s great that Broken Hill is a leader and it’s great that AGL has been involved in renewables in Broken Hill beyond the batteries, with the wind and solar operations.

“This project will provide energy security, a boost to our economy and welcome employment during the construction phase. It also aligns with Council’s own renewable energy action and sustainability strategy.

“We want to see Broken Hill at the forefront of renewable energy and energy storage and this battery is a massive step in the right direction. Renewables are only going to succeed when you have a storage system to operate the energy over the night.

“The first always get the best so being at the forefront means that we’re ahead of everyone else and we’ll get credit for many of the things that happen beyond Broken Hill. Broken Hill will be promoted as a special area and that opens up our chance for additional development, not in renewables, but in lots of different ways just by mentioning Broken Hill.

“What it does is offer another line in our ability to produce income for the city and jobs and at the end of the day, most people in Broken Hill, what’s important is making sure that Council is helping create jobs. It’s nice to have the added bonus of being recognised worldwide as a renewable leader.”

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