Neoen shifts location and reduces size of proposed Victoria Big Battery

Neoen shifts location and reduces size of proposed Victoria Big Battery

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Neoen has proposed a new site for its proposed Victoria Big Battery, and also downgraded the size from 600MW to 300MW.

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French renewable energy and battery storage developer Neoen has offered an alternative site, and size, of the proposed Victoria Big Battery in a new development application for what would still be the biggest battery in Australia.

Plans by Neoen and Ausnet subsidiary Mondo to build a big battery of up to 600MW were revealed in March in a planning application lodged with the City of Geelong. Mostly, the battery was designed to support a Victoria government plan to upgrade the operating capacity of the main transmission link to NSW, and also to provide support for renewables and frequency control for the grid.

A new plan, authored only by Neoen and submitted to the City of Geelong last week, identifies a new site close to the Moorabool Terminal Station, and speaks now of a big battery of up to 300MW, although the length of storage is not identified and presumably will not be finalised until the market strategy is identified.

Neoen, of course, owns and operates the Hornsdale Power Reserve, better known as the Tesla big battery, in South Australia, that was the world’s biggest when first constructed in late 2017, but is now overtaken by other projects in the US, despite being expanded from 100MW/129MWh to a new capacity of 150MW/194MWh.

Neoen has also installed another big battery at the Bulgana Green Powrer Hub in Victoria – a 20MW/34MWh battery paired with the 194MW Bulgana wind farm – and has long term plans for battery storage at other sites, including a massive 900MW/1800MWh big battery in South Australia, although that would not likely be built for several years.

The Victoria Big Battery identifies a short term need to boost the state’s grid as it charges towards its 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030, and seeks greater capacity in its links with other states, including the upgrade of the existing main link to NSW.

“When operating, the VBB project will provide Fast Frequency Response services to the National Electricity Market and be an energy reserve to augment power supplies in Victoria,” its new application states.

“Such energy storage facilities encourage the development and construction of renewable energy projects by being able to switch between being a load or generator depending on renewable energy output and energy demand in the network.

“BESS (battery energy storage systems) projects also protect against price volatility, protect the grid from network disturbances and reduce the price of Frequency Control and Ancillary Services (FCAS).” It pointed to the widely acknowledged success of the Hornsdale Power Reserve to support those claims.

It also notes that battery storage can store energy generated from wind and solar, can act as a source of contingency power during a temporary loss of supply, can provide “near-instantaneous” stabilisation services to the grid, and offer an alternative to the “more expensive” emergency gas-fired and diesel generators.

  • “Overall, storage when combined with renewable energy, will help maintain Australia’s energysupply, especially in times of peak demand. It may also reduce the frequency of blackouts and need for load shedding in instances where there is a supply imbalance,” it says.
  • The new site is just a few blocks, or less than 1km away from the first location, and is on the other side of the road to the Moorabool terminal on on Steiglitz Road.
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