February 18, 2021: An announcement this month by the Australian firm CEP.Energy that it was planning to build the world’s biggest battery by about four times (1,200MW) would see the amount of battery storage in Australia exceed predictions by a third.
The battery, in New South Wales, would be eight times larger than Australia’s current biggest system — the Hornsdale Power Reserve installed by Tesla in 2017 — and four times bigger than the Californian battery at Moss Landing, which has just come online.
CEP.Energy chairman Morris Iemma said batteries were key at a time when traditional power generation units, such as coal and gas stations, were being wound down.
Australia does not keep a national register of energy storage systems, says the Smart Energy Council, whose 2018 report, Australian Energy Storage: Market Analysis, identified 55 large-scale energy storage projects, existing, planned or proposed, representing a total of 4GWh of storage, excluding pumped hydro.
The Smart Energy Council is a combination of the Australian Solar Council and the Energy Storage Council, comprising more than 1.000 members from manufacturers, developers, distributors and installers.
It said the combination of residential and commercial battery storage could deliver more than 3GWh, excluding this latest proposal and probably several others that have materialized since the report was written. These include plans revealed by Origin Energy in November to build a 700MW battery with four hours’ duration in the same region of New South Wales.
Australia has long had some of the highest electricity prices in the world, exacerbated in part because of the closing down of large coal-fired power stations. The size of the country also means that electricity networks are expensive to maintain, adding to customers’ bills.