Victoria’s Gannawarra Energy Storage System (GESS), the largest integrated solar and battery storage facility in Australia, is now exporting and importing electricity to the grid in time for expected greater demand over summer.
The project, developed by a consortium comprising Australian renewable energy and storage company, Edify Energy, Tesla and EnergyAustralia and co-financed by WIRSOL Energy, is currently completing commissioning and operating as a market participant in the National Electricity Market (NEM).
GESS is capable of powering more than 16,000 homes through two hours of peak demand before being recharged.
This is the first time a utility-scale battery system has been retrofitted to an existing solar project, the Gannawarra Solar Farm.
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Australian renewable energy company Edify Energy oversaw the deployment and construction of the project, which utilises Tesla’s lithium ion battery technology.
Energy retailer EnergyAustralia will charge and dispatch energy from the facility until 2030. This is in addition to a long-term agreement to buy all the electricity generated from the co-located Gannawarra Solar Farm.
EnergyAustralia will operate the combined solar farm and battery facility in a coordinated way that better serves the Victorian energy market than could be achieved by a stand-alone renewable asset.
GESS was selected by the Victorian Government under its Energy Storage Initiative to integrate a 25MW/50MWh Tesla Powerpack battery with the 60MW DC Gannawarra Solar Farm.
ARENA on behalf of the Australian Government and the Victorian Government Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) supported GESS with $25 million in grant funding.
Edify Energy CEO John Cole sees this project being a real win for Victorian and Australian energy consumers in the enablement of a low-carbon energy future.
“The entire sector is aware of the potential for storage projects to not only provide invaluable services to the market and the grid, but also to enable the roll out of more and more clean and cheap renewable energy,” Mr Cole said.
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“Solar plus storage is a ‘category killer’. We are very proud to have developed, structured and overseen the construction of two projects that together can serve as a model for wider adoption of storage into the market and the realisation of a high renewable future.
“We intend to continue our roll out of storage and renewables projects and help our corporate and other customers achieve their energy and sustainability objectives.”
EnergyAustralia Managing Director, Catherine Tanna, said the project is an example of what we can look forward to in a modern energy system that delivers reliable, affordable and cleaner energy for customers.
“The ability to store and quickly release energy will help integrate renewables into the system as coal-fired plants progressively retire,” Ms Tanna said.
“These are the new technologies and approaches that will come to underpin our energy system, keeping customers’ lights on and their costs down.”
Edify Energy developed, structured and provided construction management services for the project.
In addition to continuing development of other projects in its portfolio, Edify Energy will undertake the long-term asset management role for GESS, on top of the asset management role it performs for the other projects Edify Energy has developed and overseen through construction, including the Gannawarra, Whitsunday, Hamilton, Daydream and Hayman Solar Farms.