Two Big Batteries for Vic

You will have heard of the Hornsdale Power Reserve. It's the biggest battery in the world and is located in South Australia. Built on request by a billionaire, with a wager that it could be done in 100 days or it was free — Tesla thoroughly outmarketing 90+ companies competing for the tender.

You might be less familiar with the State of Victoria's own record breaker battery set to be part of the biggest integrated solar farm and storage solution in all Australia. It's the first battery to be retrofitted to a commercial capacity solar installation as well as the first utility scale battery in Victoria.

Photograph: Gannawarra Times

Gannawarra Energy Storage System (GESS) was tendered March this year and is set to kick-off by 1 December. It is a 25MW lithium-ion storage set-up consisting of 400 Tesla Powerpacks and 50 inverters paired with the existing 60MW Solar Farm owned by Wirsol and Edify Energy.

It will be operational at top capacity for up to 2 hours, or can power 800 homes for 24. It's primary purpose is peak-shaving and load-shifting — charging at low rate periods, discharging at peak demand periods.

It may also potentially serve dual functions in Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS) and for Fast Frequency Response (FFR), both of which stabilise the grid in the event of a disturbance.

The largest integrated battery and solar farm in all Australia

It was tendered at the same time as a second industrial scale battery project for the same State. A 30MW storage solution at the AusNet Services Ballarat Terminal Station in Warrenheip.

Ballarat Energy Storage System

NuvoGroup (owned by Spotless) is the developer, with AusNet Services putting up equity, and Fluence (a Siemens and AES company) to provide the battery. It comprises 9 purpose-built enclosures including security, safety, operating and cooling systems.

Photograph: Alex Ford

It will be capable of providing power to 20,000 homes for an hour, afford "support on a congested transmission terminal, at a critical location, reducing the need to expand the substation" and in its turn have the capacity to keep the grid stable by way of FCAS and potentially FFR as well.

Both batteries will be operated by EnergyAustralia. Both received considerable government funding. And both have the ability to bring benefits to Victoria comparable to those the Hornsdale Power Reserve has already demonstrably delivered in SA.

Hornsdale Power Reserve. Photograph: Telsa Motors/Timothy Artman

On 25 August, the exact day Mr. Morrison entered on office, a little after one in the afternoon, two major transmission lines went down.

While over 45,000 homes in NSW and Victoria lost electricity on account of load shedding, the monumental Tesla battery kicked on to send 84MW direct to the grid immediately in SA. This precluded load shedding there.

For the following 25 minutes it continued to provide pivotal frequency support, stabilising the network while simultaneously charging at negative energy prices in the market.

It kept the power on in SA while New South Wales and Victoria, where there were no generators as fast and flexible to pick up the difference, had pervasive outages.

Now there are generators as fast and flexible in Vic. Two of them.

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