Neoen, a renewable energy developer, has initiated the planning process for a 500 MW/1,000 MWh battery storage project in New South Wales. The project will be located around 100 km west of Sydney, near the site of the former Wallerawang coal-fired power station. The project, referred to as the ‘Great Western Battery’, would form a major part of an evolving New South Wales energy grid.

As a first step, the developer has submitted a scoping study for the project with the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment in December 2020. The study has been prepared with the support of consultancy AECOM. As per the scoping study, the project would re-purpose existing network infrastructure previously constructed for the now decommissioned Wallerawang coal-fired power station. The proposed big battery would be able to connect to a 330kV substation that that had previously served the power station.

The project is expected to support the state government’s plan to drive investment for setting up about 12GW of new wind and solar generation capacity by 2030. Further, the project will also support the development of the Central-Orana renewable energy zone. As a part of the renewable energy zone, as much as 3,000MW of new wind and solar projects are being planned in the region around the town of Dubbo. The projected investment for the project is between $300 and $400 million and it is also expected to create up to 200 new construction jobs. The development of the battery may begin in 2022 with the project becoming operational by 2023.

According to Neoen, the energy storage capacity provided by the project would allow for increased installation of renewable energy sources while maintaining network stability and security. The battery energy storage system will provide additional energy system support services, such as frequency control, as well as providing dispatchable supplies of power to complement the supply from variable wind and solar projects. It will offer a range of services with extremely fast response times to support a stable network and security of supply.