AGL to install grid-scale BESS at Torrens Island

Torrens Island Power Station
AGL's Torrens Island Power Station

AGL will partner with technology group Wärtsilä for the supply of a 250MW/250MWh battery energy storage system (BESS) at Torrens Island in South Australia.

It will be AGL’s first grid-scale BESS project and the second biggest in Australia. When installed, the system will support a broad portfolio of generating assets, both thermal and renewable, and help Australia to decarbonise and transition towards 100 per cent renewable energy future.

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The order of more than 100 MEUR is the first placed under a framework agreement signed between Wärtsilä and AGL in 2020 for the supply of energy storage projects. AGL plans up to 1GW of grid-scale energy storage across Australia. The flexible capacity provided by Wärtsilä’s advanced BESS provides an efficient means for balancing the supply of energy from renewable sources, thereby maintaining the stability and reliability of the grid. Energy storage technology will play a key role in the Australian energy sector’s transition from conventional fossil fuels towards cleaner, renewable energy.

“AGL and Wärtsilä both share a vision to bring cleaner sustainable energy to the market in the most efficient way possible. We are excited to see our grid-scale energy storage plans coming to life, and work with Wärtsilä, a company with a leading position and an impressive track record in energy storage technology, as a project partner,” AGL chief operating officer Markus Brokhof said.

“This is a landmark project, and we are proud to have been selected as the ESS provider. Renewable generation is growing rapidly in South Australia, and the flexibility of our technology and the in-house experience we bring, can together be instrumental in maintaining a reliable and affordable electricity supply for South Australian consumers—both household and business—for years to come,” Wärtsilä Energy president Sushil Purohit said of the Torrens Island BESS.

The Torrens Island system will be delivered by Wärtsilä on a full engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) basis, and designed to provide grid-support capabilities to AGL’s asset portfolio. It is expected to become operational in the early part of 2023.

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The Wärtsilä system will operate initially in grid-following mode before switching at a later date to grid-forming mode (virtual synchronous generation or VSG), making it the largest energy storage solution capable of operating in this mode. This will enable very fast response times and will future-proof the Torrens Island facility. The complex solution is supported by Wärtsilä’s advanced GEMS Power Plant Controller and energy management software.

Wärtsilä has earlier supplied a successful 211MW power plant for AGL, the Barker Inlet Power Station, also located on Torrens Island. The plant operates with 12 Wärtsilä 50DF multi-fuel engines running on natural gas. The hybrid combination of gas-fuelled combustion engines and energy storage will play an increasingly important role in Australia’s energy future.