Moves to shore up the ACT’s electricity supply is powering ahead with plans lodged for the second of two big batteries, which is now to be twice as large as first expected.
French renewables company Neoen plans to build a 100 megawatt/200-megawatt hours battery energy storage system in Jerrabomberra that will provide back-up during outages and help stabilise the grid.
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Last year, Neoen and Spanish company Global Power Generation (GPG) won the ACT’s fifth Renewables Reverse Auction to supply the ACT with an extra 200 MW of electricity from their wind farms in South Australia and Victoria respectively.
Part of the deal was for the companies to provide big batteries, and GPG has already lodged its DA for a $10 million 10 MW system in Beard, while Neoen had flagged a 50 MW facility.
Neoen’s development will cost more than $15 million and comprise battery packs encased in steel cabinets, a substation, a transformer, an office, a road, a 20,000-litre water tank and fencing on the 2 ha Mountain Road site, which the company has bought.
Neoen will own and operate the facility, which will have a power output of up to 100 MW, with the capacity to store up to 200 MWh of energy, and up to two hours’ power in reserve.
The system will export electricity at 33 kilovolts to the substation on-site and be connected to the nearby Queanbeyan Substation.
The DA says the battery technology is conservatively estimated to have a life of at least 15 years, but with more efficient replacement technology likely, the proposed development’s total life could be up to 50 years, depending on innovation.
The aim is to provide a more predictable supply of electricity to the grid, with the big battery able to dispatch stored energy during peak times to avoid blackouts, and when large fossil fuel generators fail in heatwave conditions.
Like the Queanbeyan Substation, the facility will be operated remotely and there will not be any permanent staff on site. Traffic will be limited to one to two daily light vehicle trips to the site.
There are some regulated trees on the site, two of which will need to be removed.
A bushfire assessment recommends that Neoen take measures to prevent and mitigate fire risks, including the establishment of Asset Protection Zones (APZ), a 20,000-litre water tank and ensuring the clear access on Mountain Road.
There are no registered heritage places or objects on the block, but there is an Aboriginal site in the north-east corner which the DA says won’t be affected by the development although it will be fenced off.
The current lease allows only stockyards and will need to be changed to accommodate the battery development.
The ACT now sources all of its electricity needs from renewable sources. The government is aiming for zero net carbon emissions by 2045.