28 October 2022

Canberra community invited to deep dive into proposed big battery

| Dione David
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Digital render of the Territory Battery

The Territory Battery will be able to charge and discharge enough energy to power 400,000 ACT households for two hours. (Pictured, Hornsdale Power Reserve). Photo: Neoen.

Members of the public have been invited to learn, ask questions and provide feedback about Canberra’s next grid-scale battery at an information session next month.

Now in the early stages of development, the “Territory Battery” will be a 300-megawatt standalone battery storage facility located directly south of the Stockdill Substation, about 3 km south of Holt.

Its creators, independent renewable energy producer Neoen, will hold the drop-in community information session on Wednesday (November 2) from 2 pm to 6 pm in the Ginninderry Link Building in the new suburb of Strathnairn.

READ ALSO Batteries of all sizes needed to strengthen grid as ACT prepares to bid adieu to gas

Neoen head of communications and engagement Lisa Stiebel said batteries were a “critical part” of the national capital’s energy transition.

“As we move to higher penetration of renewables in the ACT, the wider NSW and Australian grid, batteries have a multi-faceted role to play,” she said.

“The higher your renewable energy penetration is, the more you need to ‘firm’ them up. Batteries will be a big part of providing that firming and smoothing the transition.”

Ms Stiebel said the information session would give the general public the chance to deep dive into the development application for the Territory Battery, share their thoughts on the plan and pose questions to subject matter experts about this “fascinating” technology.

“Think of big batteries as Swiss army knives. They actually have various tools with different functions that can be pulled out depending on your needs,” she explained.

“Everyone knows what a battery fundamentally does; it stores and releases power. Big batteries are no different, but when they store and release power and under what circumstances is the question.”

READ ALSO Solar battery demand heats up as electricity costs go through the roof

Ms Stiebel explained frequency control was one very useful function of big batteries and that they were also providing new services.

“We’ve been at the forefront of innovating a service called ‘inertia services’, which are critical to keeping the grid running in a stable way,” she explained.

“Traditionally this is powered by coal or gas, but as more comes off the grid there will be shortfalls of this function.

“The correct frequency for power usage is a very narrow band. A big battery can respond to fluctuations in milliseconds to ensure frequencies stay stable on the grid level. When you stop changes in the frequency, you can prevent the grid from plunging.

“We were recently the first to demonstrate that batteries can provide inertia at scale to the grid.”

Using lithium-ion battery packs to store and discharge energy to the network, the Territory Battery will be able to charge and discharge a total of 600 megawatts per hour (MWh).

As the average household consumes 18 kWh (0.018 MWh) each day, this is the equivalent of 400,000 ACT households for two hours, effectively reducing the possibility of blackouts and providing reliability to renewable resources.

READ ALSO Battery rollout powers ahead with tenders out for small batteries at government sites

As the technology has improved over time, “big batteries” are living up less to their name in scale and more in outputs.

In 2018, Neoen built a 100-megawatt battery in South Australia and the following year, built a 300-megawatt battery in Victoria that took up roughly the same space.

Located close to the lower Molonglo water treatment centre, the proposed area for the Territory Battery including access roads and the transmission corridor spans 8.9 ha, with 4 ha dedicated to the big battery.

The site’s location, far away from residential areas, means any noise from the cooling fans won’t pose issues.

Pending DA approval, construction will begin on the Territory Battery in about a year and will take about two years to complete, bringing with it employment opportunities.

READ ALSO The economics of EVs is becoming the path of least resistance

The Territory Battery drop-in community information session will let Canberrans learn about the project but also about big batteries generally and the role they’re likely to play in the ACT’s transition away from gas.

“We’re a company that’s at the heart of working on this stuff, we’re innovators in this space, and we know what’s going on at the grid level of the ACT’s transition,” Ms Stiebel said.

“We have our offices here in Canberra, so we’re pretty passionate about having our next project in the community we live and work in.

“We’re equally keen to get people’s input as well in terms of long-term community benefits they’d like to see flowing in from this project.

“The ACT community is pretty switched on regarding renewable energy, climate change and sustainability. We want to give them a chance to look under the hood at what’s going on.”

The Territory Battery drop-in community information session takes place on Wednesday (November 2). Drop in at the Ginninderry Link Building located at 1 McClymont Way, Strathnairn any time between 2 pm and 6 pm or visit the Territory Battery website for more information.

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Capital Retro7:36 am 30 Oct 22

Remember this?: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-09-16/canberra-chemical-fire/2901598

It was caused by a large concentration of electrical devices full of chemicals igniting.

Is the risk worth it?

HiddenDragon7:41 pm 29 Oct 22

Better than nothing, but not much, after years of years mindless “real action” slogan-chanting destruction and neglect of Australia’s coal generation and blocking of new gas generation have put us in a very precarious position.

Meanwhile, the world’s largest carbon emitter, which is doing very nicely out of exporting much of the technology which necessitates stop-gap measures like this battery, has announced (after obviously following it for many years) a far more realistic policy – “establish the new before demolishing the old”


Happily, the continuing windfall revenues from flogging our fossil fuel resources to the rest of the world will help us to pay for imported band-aid fixes to the corner we’ve painted ourselves into.

I would like to ask some questions as I did not understand a lot of this article. I only know basic physics so much of this article was beyond me. Firstly, I was always taught that storage capacity was measured in MWh not MW. Secondly, the inertia services provided seem to be the same as the existing ancillary services used in electricity networks. Are they different? I cannot understand the 600 MWh of power provided in a one-hour period from a 300 MWh storage capacity. There is no mention of discharge and recharge rates for the battery but I know it is not zero. Also if the battery is operating in blackout conditions where is the power to come from to recharge? The 2 hour supply estimate is highly dependent upon season and time of day. It will vary quite significantly because of these factors. Can someone more enlightened educate me on these issues?

tfx1, as far as I can tell, the battery will have a 300MW power capacity with a 600MWh energy capacity, that is, it can discharge 300MW for 2 hours.

A portion of the battery will be kept discharged, so it can be rapidly switched to charge if the grid supply gets too high. Another portion of the battery will be kept charged, so it can be rapidly switched to discharge if the grid supply gets too low. It can respond to these grid over or under supply issues quicker than coal or gas generators, and is required due to the larger amounts of intermittent solar and wind generation now supplying the grid.

They can also use a portion of the battery to charge during off-peak times when power is cheaper, then sell power back to the NEM during peak times when power is more expensive.

The battery will be connected to the grid where power enters the ACT from the NSW Transgrid network, so will not assist at all for suburb wide blackouts within the ACT.

We’re not looking hard enough into the future to prevent climate change. One needs to build a stella engine to correctly steer the cosmos.

So we’re building a big battery and wasting resources on storing power for when the sun is shining elsewhere, and when the sun shines else they’re building batteries for when the sun shines here.

The problem with enegry is not a storage problem but a technical transfer problem.

Slight problem – climate chage cnant be proven sceintifically.

Ergo, no need for a huge waste of taxpayers money on a battery , nor on electric cars…..

Climate Change is about control, its just communism peddaled in a green wrapper.


Capital Retro9:44 am 28 Oct 22

We are repeatedly told that because of man-made climate change there will be bigger and more powerful, destructive “weather events” so, what happens when a large hailstone or wind driven debris penetrate one of the thousand of batteries in these and a thermal runaway results?

I think a Swiss Army knife is more useful than these proposed “Territory Batteries”.

“so, what happens when a large hailstone or wind driven debris penetrate one of the thousand of batteries in these and a thermal runaway results?”

I don’t think you’re focused on the real risks CR.

What happens when an asteroid comes down from space and hits every coal plant on earth, whilst completely missing any other surrounding areas?

It would be horrendous.

I can’t believe they aren’t planning for this already.

Capital Retro11:58 am 28 Oct 22

Unusually puerile response from you c14. I’m posing genuine risk situations and you trivialize what I am suggesting under the heading of “real risks” which are outlined here:


From those comments it appears you do now believe the weather pattern is changing.

Hopefully the outside covers of the batteries will be strong enough. That should be factored in, and electrical components protected. Not everything gets destroyed by a hail storm. My solar panels survived the last big one here, but some of the attached components were damaged, although still working. Not safe though, and they have been replaced. It’s not a matter of saying we can’t do this because of potential hail damage, but making sure the design includes some thought about this and protection. Unfortunately not enough consideration for this is always included, such as with the solar panel attachments. Smashable plastic; how stupid! My outside lights, outside power points, solar hot water tubes and plastic ducting didn’t survive. Replaced the plastic ducting with metal ducting (which would have been my choice the first time), so that should survive the next hailstorm. Plastic ducting outside is silly.

As an aside, the glass hot houses in the ANU which keep getting smashed with every hailstorm should have wire mesh placed over them to stop the big hail stones too. I can’t believe this hasn’t been done.

Capital Retro,
No your ridiculous scenario got the treatment it deserved.

These batteries are built and encased to withstand extreme weather events, so your point is meaningless.

And how on earth do you think a paper on the risks of hail to corrugated steel panels is relevant?

Have a think about the effects of hail storms of that nature on normal residential dwellings which would be far more costly and dangerous than anything relating to the impacts on these batteries which would be close to nil.

“These batteries are built and encased to withstand extreme weather events, so your point is meaningless.”
The batteries are more likely to self-detonate.
Try sending one of these batteries on a plan as checked luggage. It’s basically impossible.

Within every battery they have the potential to form the wrong kind of chain and self-discharge creating heat. This this flows to each battery next to them.

I totally agree about man made climate change, wind power turbines reduce the wind and take energy out of it. This changes the weather as it changes the temperature.

Except for when they go up, and they do.

Climate Change cant be proven sceintifically.

Warren Buffett said he wouldnt be in renewables unless the govt subsidies were there….so no investment in renewables is financially viable, they arent required, and they cost a lot to let local politicians grandstand on what equates to a fairy story pushed by green communism. Dont think Ive missed any inconvenient truths….

The Canadian Infrastructure Bank recently committed CAD970 million to build a 300 MWe small modular reactor at the Darlington nuclear power site in Ontario. It will be a GE Hitachi BWRX-300 SMR to be completed by 2028. There are also plans to build 10 of these in Poland, build some in Sweden and build another in Saskatchewan Canada. They will provide emissions free reliable power 24/7/365, and will not run flat after 1-2 hours during calm frosty winter nights.

Interesting that the funding you mention is only for a part of the project for something they “think” will be finished by the end of the decade (the 2028 date you mention is laughable), using a brand new technology that currently has not been deployed anywhere.

The design may prove valuable in certain applications in the future but to put it forward as a given that will definitely work as a solution at the costs and timeframes mentioned is extraordinarily optimistic.

It definitely wouldn’t be useful for Australia’s current problems, you couldn’t deliver even one within a decade. Even if there was broad agreement that it was possible now and a site was available.

I was told a few years ago by a federal government staffer that to get nuclear off and running in Australia would take at least 30 years due to the red tape implemented by the Federal Labor and state governments in the ‘80’s.

I really hope this is untrue.

Ehren Cory, CEO Canada Infrastructure Bank, commented on the project, “Energy experts say there is no path to bringing the world’s carbon emissions to zero by 2050 without nuclear. The CIB’s $970 million investment will help OPG construct Canada’s first small modular reactor. As our largest clean power investment, we are supporting technology which can accelerate the reduction in greenhouse gases while also paving the way for Canada becoming a global SMR technology hub.”

So the CEO of the bank who made the decision to invest in this project thinks his investment is a good idea?

I’m really surprised.

Although interesting that you’ve referenced Canada as some sort of leading light forging ahead with nuclear power. They’ve had numerous proposals for new nuclear plants over the last 20 years and every single one of them has either been canned or not progressed beyond feasibility investigations.

And that’s in a country that already has all the supporting industry for making Nuclear power workable. Australia has none.

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