The Big Bessie battery

The Queensland Government has announced the official activation of the Bouldercombe 50MW grid-scale battery just outside of Rockhampton, which is intended to store the network’s excess solar energy. 

The battery, nicknamed ‘Big Bessie’, is part of the Queensland Government’s Energy and Jobs Plan, and will take Central Queensland’s role in generating the state’s energy and supercharge local energy affordability.

The 50MW/100MWh battery will help revolutionise the way energy supply and demand can be managed in the region during peak times.

When fully operational at the end of 2023, the large-scale storage system will provide ancillary services to also support the stability and reliability of the transmission network that supplies power to more than 5 million Queenslanders.

Member for Rockhampton and Central Queensland Hydrogen Champion, Barry O’Rourke said that this landmark project signals a major shift in Central Queensland’s energy profile as more renewable energy comes into service and work continues to develop the Queensland SuperGrid.

“This battery acts as a super solar soaker, taking exports from rooftop solar and the region’s future renewable energy projects, to drive down power prices in the evenings,” Mr O’Rourke said. 

“Basing this battery here just outside Gracemere, which is in the top 50 solar postcodes in Queensland, means renewable energy can be generated, stored and used locally to help bring down power bills.

“With the Queensland Government working towards 80 per cent renewables by 2035, it’s vital we maximise investment in new technologies to support the energy transformation.

“It is a critical part of our long-term plan for Queensland to meet our responsibilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, Mick de Brenni, said that the energisation of the Bouldercombe Battery Project signals yet another step towards making the Queensland SuperGrid a reality for local communities and putting downward pressure on household energy bills.

“Batteries are fast and flexible, with the ability to ramp up and down instantaneously to support the stability of the power system and reduce wholesale price volatility,” Mr de Brenni said. 

“This battery, along with our Cost-of-Living Rebates, show that the Queensland Government is committed to helping keep costs down for households.”

Genex CEO, James Harding said the energisation of the Bouldercombe Battery Project is a significant milestone for Genex, as it marks the start of commissioning of the company’s first large scale battery energy storage system (BESS) and will play an integral role in diversifying the Genex portfolio of assets which includes solar, wind, pumped hydro and battery storage.

“Given the acceleration of the clean energy transition over the past 18 months, the successful connection of the project is timely, as it will store and supply up to 35,200MWh of power per annum and enable the further penetration of renewable energy in the State.

“We would like to thank Powerlink for their support throughout the connection process, and we look forward to continuing this cooperation as we complete the commissioning activities and enter into full commercial operation before the critical summer months.”

Featured image: Energy storage systems at the Big Bessie site. Image credit: Powerlink. 

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