Australia switches on new storage battery

From pv magazine Australia

Australia officially has a new big battery. Owned and operated by French renewables developer Neoen and using Tesla’s Megapack technology, the 300 MW/450 MWh battery doubles the capacity of the previous front runner, South Australia’s Hornsdale Power Reserve.

However, it is unlikely that the new big battery in Geelong, Victoria, will keep that position for long, given Australia’s bulging storage pipeline. The battery went into operation just 12 months after Neoen was awarded its grid services contract with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

There can also be no denying that the days of naming the batteries by their state location, followed by “big battery,” will soon be over. But it appears that interested parties are eager to suck the last drops out of the tradition.

The government of Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said that the Geelong battery will “modernize the state’s electricity grid.” It also noted an “independent analysis” that reportedly shows every AUD 1 ($0.71) invested in the battery will deliver AUD 2.40 in benefits to Victorian households and businesses.

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The battery has already drawn global attention – less for its size and more because of a fire in July that broke out during the battery’s commissioning, destroying two of the project’s 212 Tesla Megapacks.

Sparking renewed discussions around the safety of lithium-ion battery technologies, the investigation into the fire deemed the most likely cause to be a leak within the Megapack cooling system. The system in place to detect such faults didn’t set off alarms, though, because it hadn’t been given adequate time to “map” the control system.

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