Western Australia investigating big battery

Neoen's Hornsdale Battery
Neoen's Hornsdale Battery

The Western Australian Government, through Synergy, is exploring the opportunity for the development of a big battery to strengthen Western Australia’s power system.

Expected to be Australia’s second biggest battery, the proposed 100 megawatt big battery will be bigger than 20 tennis courts, side-by-side, and have the capacity to power 160,000 homes for two hours, and to be housed at the decommissioned Kwinana Power Station.

The Request for Information process was released today for the construction and commissioning of the big battery, which is expected to create 100 jobs for Western Australians.

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WA’s energy sector is experiencing a rapid transformation, with a major uptake of large-scale renewables and rooftop solar. One in three households have rooftop solar panels and this is expected to rise to 50 per cent of households by 2030. 

Increased pressure on WA’s electricity system and inaction could result in significant blackouts in coming years.

The big battery will support integration of more renewable energy and improve grid security. It can be charged during the day, when the sun is shining and energy is plentiful, and discharge this energy when it is most needed during the afternoon and evening peak.

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Synergy will operate the battery, which will reduce wear and tear on existing generation plants that are not designed to fluctuate in response to high levels of renewable energy in the grid.

Batteries will help the wider electricity system and the market by ‘smoothing’ demand issues, such as low load, which is encountered when customer solar generation is high but power demand is low.

An initial $15 million of Commonwealth funding has been secured for this project. The Energy Minister, with support from Energy Policy WA, is currently in discussions with the Commonwealth Government regarding further funding for the project. A final decision on the big battery will be made later this year.  

It is expected that if feasible a contract could be awarded by May 2021 and the battery could be operational by September 2022.

For more information, visit https://www.tenders.wa.gov.au/watenders/index.do.