The $50 million plan to shore up Victoria’s energy grid with big batteries
Main Photo: An artists’ impression of the Ballarat battery, which will be able to power 20,000 homes for an hour.
Two large-scale, grid-connected batteries will be installed in regional Victoria, in a bid to shore up the state’s electricity supply.
The projects, worth a combined $50 million, will be funded by the Federal Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and by the Victorian Government.
Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg said the project would ease pressure on the grid.
“The wind doesn’t blow all the time, and the sun doesn’t shine,” Mr Frydenberg said.
One battery will be located near the small town of Kerang, in northern Victoria, and will be part of the existing Gannawarra Solar Farm.
It is expected to provide 25 mega-watts (MW) of energy, and will have a storage capacity of 50 mega-watt hours (MWh).
It will be owned by Edify Energy and supplied by Elon Musk’s Tesla and will be capable of powering 800 homes for 24 hours.
The second battery will be located in Ballarat, and is set to provide 30 MW of energy and be able to store 30 MWh.
It will be supplied by Fluence and owned by company AusNet.
Construction due to start in April
It will be capable of powering 20,000 homes for an hour.
“They are focussed on supplying predominantly renewable energy,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“The one near Kerang is co-located with a solar farm, and the other at the Ballarat terminal substation.
“[They] will capture the existing investments and support energy generated from renewable projects in the region.”
The Victorian Government had expressed its desire for the project early last year, with the hope it would be online by the summer just passed.
With construction due to commence this month, it is expected to be online by next summer.
Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the project was part of the most sophisticated energy storage initiative in Australia.
“Together with ARENA and leading energy companies, we are investing in energy storage that will help us firm up our supply when we need it,” she said in a statement.
‘Step in the right direction’
Professor Michael Brear is the director of the Melbourne Energy Institute at the University of Melbourne.
He said it would not solve Victoria’s supply problems, but was a step in the right direction.
“It’ll certainly help,” Professor Brear said.
“If you look at the big battery that’s in in South Australia, it’s been performing very effectively in providing all sorts of services …it’s certainly a step in the right direction.”
He said it would have been good to have it over summer.
“Let’s ask a more broad question, how are we going to decarbonise?” he asked.
“How are we going to enhance security and reliability going forward? These kinds of technologies are playing an important role.”
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