22 March 2021

Powering up: ACT's next big battery will be even bigger

| Ian Bushnell
Join the conversation
Big battery

Artist’s impression of Neoen’s big battery development at Jerrabomberra. Images: SGS.

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.

READ ALSO See Jerrabomberra Differently

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.

READ ALSO Documents show reporting discrepancy, dropping enrolments at Brindabella College

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 future site of the battery

The future site of the big battery at Jerrabomberra.

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.

READ ALSO Why the Canberra Raiders have the potential to be stronger in 2021

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.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments
Capital Retro6:40 pm 23 Sep 21

I hope the ACT government knows what it is getting into:


Capital Retro11:39 am 18 Jan 21

The hype for big batteries doesn’t equate with the reality:


Capital Retro3:50 pm 05 Jan 21

Talking about government and superannuation funds “investing” in technology and the “future”, who could forget the failure of TransACT Communications 10 years ago.

TVG Capital, Motor Trades Association of Australian Super and ACTEW were among investors accepting $60 million from the sale of Canberra broadband provider TransACT to iiNet – an asset that cost them $280 million to build over 10 years.

ActewAGL backed up their huge losses (underwritten by ACT ratepayers) by losing another $10 million investing in A Better Place (EV venture).

ActewAGL was also “bundling” by offering reduced rates for electricity which was really a subsidy funded by users who were not involved – in the same way as solar exporters are being subsidised.

Capital Retro11:33 am 05 Jan 21

“So many fossils commenting on this post. Sad.”

And lots of warmists unable to challenge what we are calling out.

Capital Retro8:19 am 05 Jan 21

Re the discussion on recycling bird blenders, don’t forget the 200 ton plugs of tower support concrete that are conveniently not seen have to be dug up and dealt with.

I assume the battery people are paying a “clean up site” bond to the EPA to cover disposal of the spent batteries etc. if the operator can’t do it? Mining companies have to do it.

HiddenDragon7:48 pm 04 Jan 21

“….with the capacity to store up to 200 MWh of energy, and up to two hours’ power in reserve.”

Can candles be made from Skywhales……?

Just a few more numbers to crunch.
At 10.05 last night the state of play was as

Coal 6,145 Mega Watts
Hydro 414 MW
Wind 262
Solar O Mw

Gas 270 MW
Wind 830 MW
Batt 37 MW
Solar 0 MW

Capital Retro8:12 am 05 Jan 21

Well, it certainly seems that renewables have almost totally displaced fossil fuels in SA but SA does draw power from other states. NSW’s power generation is “light years ahead” by being dominant with fossil fuels. The ACT “pays for renewables” but then gets what’s available.

At the end of the day there is no way that renewables will ever replace the reliability of coal generated electricity.

Again much talk about our leccy supply in this burgh and the wind generators we ‘own’ down in SA.
I tend to think somehow that the wind power produced in SA is claimed to be all a part of their green credentials, and not ours. But could be wrong.
At around 5.10 this arvo NSW was producing the stuff from the following.

Black coal 6,292 Mega Watts
Small solar 297 mw
Large solar 694 mw
Wind 171 mw
Hydro 626 mw

Down in SA they are producing the stuff from

Gas 275 mw
Wind 810 mw
Large solar 220 mw
Small solar 455 mw
Battery 31 mw

Can we please stop with the repeated ridiculousness that these batteries are designed to shore up the ACT’s electricity supply or that they will do much of anything in preventing blackouts during high demand periods.

The peak demand in the ACT in both winter and summer is currently around 600MW. Whilst these types of batteries are useful to have, they are mostly going to be used for frequency control and exploiting short periods when the electricity market price will make them money.

Capital Retro4:44 pm 04 Jan 21

“………when large fossil fuel generators fail in heatwave conditions.”

And when was the last time this event occurred?

“………there will not be any permanent staff on site. “

Hello, wasn’t the renewables industry supposed to create thousands of jobs for Australians?

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.