Neoen Wants to Build a Whopping 1GW/4GWh BESS in Australia


  • Renewable power producer Neoen Australia has filed planning documents to develop a stand-alone 1 GW /4 GWh battery energy storage system (BESS) near the coal town of Collie in Western Australia’s (WA) southwest, providing vital system security for the South West Interconnected System (SWIS), the state’s main grid.

In planning documents lodged with the Shire of Collie, Neoen said the big battery will be built on a 31-hectare site about 12 kilometres northeast of Collie, approximately 215km southeast of Perth. The company said the battery is expected to be constructed in five 200 MW/800 MWh stages “or as required to meet the evolving needs of the SWIS”.

The company is also seeking approval to build new switchgear, a 330/33 kV substation with step-up power transformers and 330 kV overhead cables to connect to the existing Western Power transmission infrastructure.

Neoen said the staged approach to development means construction activities could span over 10 years, with each stage to generate up to 150 direct jobs over an approximately 12 to 24-month construction period.

The day-to-day operations and interactions with the wholesale electricity market (WEM) will be predominantly monitored and controlled remotely from the company’s Operation Control Centre (OCC) in Canberra which currently operates 14 existing projects across Australia.

Land for the proposed Collie Battery has already been secured.
Image credit: Downer

Neoen says the Collie Battery is the key to unlocking future investment in, and uptake of, renewable energy in the state and helping to solve existing grid limitations by providing greater reserve capacity to the SWIS.

“System security risks are emerging now as the increase in large-scale renewable generation and distributed energy resources displaces the dispatchable thermal generators that presently provide all system security services such as inertia, frequency control, system strength, and voltage control,” Neoen said.

“The proposed project will address these issues. There is significant potential for the project to address intermittencies in energy supply due to the ability of utility-scale battery facilities to respond quickly to fluctuations in the grid.”

Neoen said once completed the 200 MW/400 MWh first stage of the Collie Battery will have the theoretical capacity to service the average energy needs of 260,000 households for an hour and will also stand ready to pump power into the grid in the event of a shortfall from other electricity generators in the SWIS.

“The aim is to provide short-duration storage in the peak times to ease pressure on the grid,” the company said. “The battery will be able to provide grid stability and other grid services which will also encourage more integration of more renewable energy into the network.”

The proposed Collie Battery is one of a number of energy storage projects being pursued in WA as the state prepares to exit coal-fired power by the end of the decade with Premier Mark McGowan earlier this year announcing that state-owned power provider Synergy would close its two remaining coal plants by 2029, declaring coal was no longer viable due to the high penetration of solar PV.

Neoen is also looking beyond the Collie Battery, recently submitting a development application for another battery facility in the Shire of Chittering to the northeast of Perth. The proposed Muchea Battery will be a stand-alone battery with a capacity of up to 200 MW/400 MWh.

The two WA battery projects are the just the latest for Neoen which marked its entry into the Australian market in 2017 with the now 150 MW/194 MWh Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia, the world’s first big battery.

Since then it has rolled out a series of energy storage systems, including the 300 MW/450 MWh Victorian Big Battery which came online in December 2021. It is also developing several other big batteries in Australia, including the 100 MW/200 MWh Capital battery outside Canberra, a 300 MW/800 MWh battery in Blyth, north of Adelaide, and a 500 MW/1000 MWh battery to be built near Wallerawang west of Sydney.

Neoen said this week it has more than 2.5 GW of renewable assets in operation or under construction in Australia, representing more than $3.5 billion in investment. The company intends to reach 5 GW in Australia by 2025

Author: Dave Carrol

This article was originally published in pv magazine and is republished with permission.

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