Big battery expansion to strengthen South Australia's energy system

Rowan Ramsey MP

Member for Grey

Joint Media Release

19 November 2019

South Australia’s ‘big battery’ is going to get bigger with a 50 per cent expansion thanks to support from the Liberal National Government. 

The Hornsdale Power Reserve, the world’s largest grid-scale battery, has helped to address grid reliability and security in South Australia following the statewide blackouts in 2017.

Neoen Australia has announced the 100MW / 129MWh Tesla-built battery will see a 50 MW / 64.5 MWh increase which will help back-up the record influx of renewable generation in South Australia.

Through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) the Liberal National Government has committed finance and funding to Neoen Australia for the project. 

The CEFC is committing up to $50 million in project finance and ARENA is providing up to $8 million funding.

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the Hornsdale Power Reserve expansion will improve response times on the worst days when demand is at its highest and the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.

“Projects like this, combined with the gas and pumped hydro projects that are coming online, are extremely important to the future integration of renewable energy to the South Australian grid”, said Minister Taylor.

The battery expansion will provide additional fast response capacity to prevent tripping of the South Australian and Victorian interconnector, and react to sudden changes in load. This is expected to lead to a reduction in the cost of procuring services to manage the grid, ultimately resulting in savings for consumers.

Federal Member for Grey Rowan Ramsey said this project will deliver substantial benefits to South Australia.

“The big battery upgrade will provide grid reliability and reduce energy costs for South Australian families and businesses”, said Mr Ramsey.

The expansion will showcase the potential for grid scale batteries to provide ‘virtual’ inertia, which involves a contribution to the capability of the power system to resist changes in frequency and unlock new revenue streams and commercial pathways for other batteries.

Neoen will work with the Australian Energy Market Operator to test the potential for the battery to improve grid security sufficiently to allow an easing of the current curtailment arrangements for solar PV and wind generation in South Australia.

As Australia’s electricity system is changing, the large influx of intermittent energy sources along with thermal generator closures means new measures are needed to support reliability in the National Electricity Market.

The South Australian Government’s Grid Scale Storage Fund will also contribute $15 million over 5 years to this project.

The Government is leading a reform program of practical initiatives to lower prices while keeping the lights on including the $1 billion Grid Reliability Fund, and the Retailer Reliability Obligation which requires energy retailers to have enough dispatchable generation in the market to keep the lights on.

For more information on the Government’s framework on energy and emissions reduction visit energy.gov.au/energy-policy-blueprint-fair-deal-energy

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction