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A number of key battery projects in New South Wales will be accelerated in a move by the New South Wales Government to boost electricity reliability in the state.

A total of $8.4 million in new funds has been awarded to Transgrid and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to hire more engineers, enabling them to fast-track grid connections for four battery projects of more than 100MW each.

The New South Wales Government said that the total capacity of the projects is equivalent to 15 per cent of the 2023–24 New South Wales summer peak demand, or supplying approximately 800,000 households with energy during a peak demand event. 

The most recent AEMO report forecasts increased reliability risks in New South Wales from 2024 to 2028, driven largely by retiring coal plants and not enough renewables coming online to fill the gap.

The large batteries are expected to play a role in delivering affordable, reliable energy in New South Wales by storing renewable energy during sunny and windy periods and supplying that electricity to the energy grid during peak demand.

The projects which could benefit from the grants include:

  • Waratah Super Battery – 850MW, two hour storage duration 
  • Liddell Battery Energy Storage System – 500MW, two hour storage duration 
  • Orana Battery Energy Storage System – 415MW, four hour storage duration
  • Richmond Valley Battery Energy Storage System – 275MW, eight hour storage duration

The investment will bring forward completion dates of the priority battery projects by up to 12 months, in an attempt by the State Government to help decrease current reliability risks to New South Wales consumers.

Transgrid will use a $3.2 million grant to fund extra technical staff on grid connections to reduce the risk of delays. Transgrid is also expected to establish two dedicated ‘squads’ of engineers, technicians and customer support staff, to provide additional grid connection application review and support.

AEMO will receive up to $5.2 million for additional staff to project manage the grid connection process and coordinate with Transgrid and other project proponents to get the supported battery projects up and running by 2025–26.

Image credit: Benza_IMG/Shutterstock.com.

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