Western Australia funds feasibility study for largest planned battery storage project

The Western Australian government is funding an assessment of a planned battery storage system that will be the largest battery storage project built in the state to date.

Collie Future Industry Development Fund has committed up to A$1 million ($760,000) for the project's first stage feasibility study, which Western Australia's regional development minister Alannah MacTiernan said would help Western Australia move from coal to coal. The transition to renewable energy.

May 07, 2022

According to a statement released by the Western Australia Department of Regional Development, the planned energy storage capacity for the project in the town of Collie is expected to be between 600MWh and 800MWh. The largest such battery energy storage project in Australia to date is the 300MW/450MWh Victorian Big Battery battery storage system operating in Victoria, which came online not long ago.

Feasibility study funding goes to the Collie Battery and Hydrogen Industry Centre project, which, as the name suggests, will include a green hydrogen electrolysis facility and the production of green ammonia and urea powered by renewable energy.

"This project will provide a solid foundation for a renewable energy hub in the town of Collie," MacTiernan said, adding that as Western Australia transitions from coal to renewables, it makes sense for the state to have a clean energy hub .

Australian state governments are planning to build large-scale renewable energy centers, including solar power generation facilities, wind power generation facilities and battery energy storage systems, and plan to deploy large-scale green hydrogen energy facilities.

These hub plans appear to be attracting interest from private companies. At the same time, energy storage can generate better commercial revenue from ancillary services and arbitrage, especially for areas connected to Western Australia's National Electricity Market (NEM).

While the revenue is good, the source of revenue is uncertain as there are no long-term service contracts like in other markets like the UK or California. A recent report from Bloomberg Renewable Energy Finance noted that this uncertainty could slow the deployment of energy storage systems in Australia, as it makes it harder for energy storage developers to secure financing from lenders.

In this case, state governments have stepped in to fill the funding gap. For example, the Queensland government has said recently that a state-owned power company will build a 100MW/200MWh battery storage system on the site of an abandoned coal-fired power plant. In announcing the project, Queensland Energy Minister Mick de Brenni criticised the Australian federal government's continued lack of ambition to tackle climate change, leading the state to take proactive steps and invest.

The assessment of the Collie battery storage project will be carried out by Sunshot Energy, a decarbonisation-focused investment and advisory group.

MacTiernan said the project would bring in $730 million in investment in green industry and decarbonisation initiatives, would add 500 construction jobs and about 400 jobs when commissioned, while the low-cost energy it provided would directly enable the region's Businesses benefit.

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