French renewable energy developer Neoen plans to develop a massive battery storage system near the Australian city of Geelong that will dwarf its largest project to date, the 100MW/129MWh Tesla big battery in South Australia.

The Australian city of Geelong, Victoria, has unveiled plans for a AUD 300 million ($185.5 million) battery system. French renewables developer Neoen submitted the application for a planning permit for the project, which has dubbed the “Victoria big battery.”

The 600 MW battery storage facility will provide fast frequency response services to the National Electricity Market (NEM) and serve as reserve to augment power supplies in Victoria, while also providing improved grid reliability, the company said in its application.

“Such energy storage facilities can reduce spot price volatility and protect the grid from network disturbances thus improving reliability and potentially reducing power costs,” the company added.

As the developer of the world’s largest operating battery – the 100MW/129MWh Tesla big battery in South Australia, known as the Hornsdale Power Reserve – Neoen has enjoyed a significant surge in revenues. Frequency control ancillary services (FCAS) provided by the Tesla Big Battery, which is now set for a 50% expansion, contributed most of the 56% jump in revenue banked by Neoen in the final quarter of last year.

In its first year of operation, the Tesla Big Battery saved almost AUD 40 million in grid-stabilization costs. But perhaps the project’s most significant contribution is that it has raised the profile of energy storage and has demonstrated its unique capabilities.  

For its new battery project, Neoen is partnering with Mondo Power, a subsidiary of AusNet Services that specializes in commercial and community distributed energy offerings. The project will be located at the AusNet-owned Moorabool terminal station and will potentially feature Tesla batteries.

“While Tesla may not be the final equipment provider selected for the project their equipment is considered to be representative for a battery energy storage system of this size,” the company said in the application.

A project of this size is aligned with the Victorian state government’s decision to sidestep sections of the rules that govern the operation of the NEM. The state is set to introduce legislation that will fast-track priority projects like grid-scale batteries and transmission upgrades, as it seeks to make more room for more large-scale solar and wind capacity on the grid.

The Victoria big battery joins the ranks of numerous other grid-scale battery storage proposals across Australia, which are ushering in the next phase in the modernization of the country’s electricity network. This week alone, the Northern Territory proposed a AUD 30 million big battery for the Darwin-Katherine grid. On top of that, almost all new grid-scale renewable energy projects in Australia are built as battery-ready.

Image: Neoen – The Tesla Powerpacks for the Hornsdale expansion are expected to be installed, and system operational, by mid next year.



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