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The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and AGL have agreed to proceed with a $41 million big battery in Broken Hill.

The 50MW, 50MWh battery will be supplied by Fluence and its consortium partner, Valmec.

The Broken Hill battery will include advanced inverter technology, providing system strength services in weak parts of the grid, and is part of AGL’s planned 850MW grid-scale battery network currently under development.

AGL Chief Operating Officer, Markus Brokhof, said the Broken Hill battery was another step forward for the company.

“As Australia moves forward with its energy transition, we know that firming technologies like batteries play an important role in energy storage and supporting renewable energy supply,” Mr Brokhof said.

“Broken Hill’s unique edge-of-grid environment provides an ideal location for this advanced inverter technology to demonstrate how it can facilitate further penetration of renewable energy generation and add to the stability of the wider electricity network.

“During construction this project will provide up to 50 jobs for engineers, tradespeople and contractors.

“We are proud to have been part of the Broken Hill community since 2015 with our Silverton Wind Farm and Broken Hill Solar Farm, and are pleased to be building another critical asset in the region.

“I want to thank the community, Broken Hill Council and Broken Hill Local Aboriginal Land Council who have been instrumental during the planning stages, providing their support and feedback for this project.”

ARENA CEO, Darren Miller, said the next step for large-scale batteries was to show their capabilities in strengthening the grid as more renewables come online.

“Energy storage has been identified as a key priority technology under the Australian Government’s Low Emissions Technology Statement,” Mr Miller said.

“We are particularly interested in seeing how AGL’s Broken Hill battery will utilise and demonstrate advanced inverter technology in a weaker section of the energy grid.

“We look forward to working with AGL and Fluence in highlighting the potential of large-scale batteries to provide a cheaper solution to providing system stability as the grid takes on more renewable energy.”

Fluence General Manager for Australia, Aaron McCann, said that the Broken Hill battery is the first project Fluence is delivering to AGL within the framework agreement announced in January 2021.

“We are excited to support AGL and ARENA to bring Australia’s energy transition to a new level by offering market-leading functionality with advanced grid-forming inverters,” Mr McCann said.

“Broken Hill battery’s full power occurs instantaneously to quickly respond to large changes in voltage and/or frequency, which is the fastest response of all battery energy storage systems currently available in the market.”

The project will be located on industrial land around six kilometres northwest of Broken Hill airport, with completion set for early 2023.

In September, the New South Wales Department of Planning, Industry and the Environment announced planning approval for the Broken Hill battery.

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