SA’s big battery saves $40m in first year

big battery, Hornsdale, Victorian Big Battery
The Tesla-built battery at Neoen's Hornsdale Power Reserve

Neoen’s Hornsdale Power Reserve (HPR) has exceeded performance and market expectations after just one year in operation, slashing costs of $40 million from the wholesale market, according to Aurecon.

Located near Jamestown, South Australia, HPR, the world’s largest lithium-ion battery energy storage system was supplied by Tesla after Elon Musk said he could have it up and running in 100 days.

The initiative of this 100 MW lithium-ion battery energy storage was driven by the South Australian Government to stabilise the electricity grid, facilitate integration of renewable energy in the state and avoid load-shedding (ie. blackout) events, triggered by the 2016 blackout events.

The fully operational site has a discharge capacity of 100 MW and energy storage capacity of 129 MWh and shares the same 275 kV network connection point as the 317 MW Hornsdale wind farm.

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A report by global engineering and infrastructure advisory company Aurecon has outlined the HPR’s achievements in meeting these key objectives. It also recognises HPR as a core element of South Australia’s pioneering renewable energy initiative, paving the way for new battery projects across the country.

The key findings from the report are that the Hornsdale Power Reserve:

  • Has contributed to the removal of the requirement for a 35 MW local Frequency Control Ancillary Service (FCAS), saving nearly $40 million per year in typical annual costs;
  • Has reduced the South Australian regulation FCAS price by 75 per cent while also providing these services for other regions;
  • Provides a premium contingency service with response time of less than 100 milliseconds;
  • Helps protect South Australia from being separated from the National Electricity Market; and
  • Is key to the Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) and ElectraNet’s System Integrity Protection Scheme (SIPS), which protects the SA-VIC Heywood Interconnector from overload.

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HPR has responded thousands of times to frequency outside the normal operating band. Around one hundred of those events were serious, including the trip of a large coal plant and a critical event in which two transmission lines were lost. South Australia, although cut off from the grid, didn’t lose power as HPR provided frequency support to steady the grid.

Aurecon’s energy leader Paul Gleeson said reviewing the data from Hornsdale Power Reserve’s first year of operation has given insights into the capabilities of the new technology.

“[This is] including how these fast response systems can help improve stability, reduce the likelihood of load-shedding events, and contribute to the reduction in wholesale prices,” he said.

“The data is telling us that these fast response systems can help us optimise the way Australian’s energy system works”.