Victoria commits to renewable future with large battery project

Thanks to a $160 million government investment, Victoria is receiving one of the world’s largest lithium-ion batteries. 

The government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation has helped back a 300 megawatt (MW) battery project to be constructed near Geelong.

Dubbed the ‘Victorian Big Battery’, the infrastructure promises to support the state’s electricity grid and contribute to its 50% renewable energy target by 2030.

The project is being built by French organisation Neoen, who will also own and operate the facility. Neoen also operates the Tesla battery site in Hornsdale, South Australia.

Currently, heatwaves or extreme weather place a lot of stress on our traditional power grids. Battery technology offers much-needed support to help stabilise the energy grid, while also providing storage for energy generated by renewable sources, such as solar panels.

The Victorian Big Battery will store renewably generated energy in order to create a more consistent supply of green power year-round. The project is set to be completed by summer 2021-22 and will be located beside the Moorabool Terminal Station, north-west of Geelong.

Batteries help store energy generated by solar farms. Picture: Pexels

Australia is home to a growing number of battery projects, including the globally renowned battery site in Hornsdale — currently the largest lithium-ion battery in the world.

The 100MW/129MWh South Australian battery is currently undergoing an expansion that will raise its capacity by another 50MW/64.5MWh

While this record is set to be eclipsed by newer projects, including the Victorian Big Battery, both will pale in comparison to a plan put forward by Origin Energy in New South Wales.

Earlier this year, Origin announced plans to build a whopping 700MW battery at its Eraring Power Station in the NSW Hunter region.

As part of the process, Origin has lodged Expressions of Interest with companies that could help with the installation. It also hopes to connect the battery to the national grid via existing TransGrid infrastructure beside the power station.

Battery storage helps provide support during times of peak consumption. Picture: Getty

Origin executive general manager of energy supply and operations Greg Jarvis said the battery will support plans for the company – and the nation – to transfer to renewable energy. 

“A large-scale battery at Eraring will help us better support renewable energy,” Jarvis says. “[It will] maintain reliable supply for customers, by having long duration storage ready to dispatch into the grid at times when renewable sources are not available.

“The deployment of this battery at Eraring will support Origin’s orderly transition away from coal-fired generation by 2032, while complementing the policy objectives of the NSW energy roadmap.”

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