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Sunday, June 20, 2021

Liddell earmarked for renewable energy storage project

Two high-profile companies are joining forces to develop one of Australia’s largest, most innovative and lowest-cost renewable energy storage ventures, with the Hunter to play a major role.

AGL and RayGen have begun construction of a $27 million concentrated solar and thermal storage project, with the first stage to be located at Carwarp in Victoria and the second planned for the Liddell Power Station site between Muswellbrook and Singleton.

Both corporations started working on the design of the facility in 2019.

AGL has committed $5 million to help fund the construction at Carwarp as well as agreed to offtake the entirety of the plant’s production.

A pre-feasibility study for the Liddell location is now underway.

AGL interim managing director and CEO Graeme Hunt said the company was excited to be working on the innovative project, which uses a combination of solar and hydro technology and will help to deliver the next generation of energy supply.

“We’re committed to leading the business of transition and developing the future of renewable energy storage at scale, ensuring Australian households and businesses have affordable, sustainable and reliable electricity,” he explained.

“RayGen’s technology has the potential to provide the same capabilities as other long duration storage technologies at lower cost and with fewer geographical constraints.

“The system is powered by a field of smart, rotational mirrors whose concentrated solar energy is combined with the energy stored across two water reservoirs to create a ‘hot and cold’ solar hydro solution.

“The Carwarp plant will be able to deliver four megawatts (MW) of solar generation and 50 megawatt hours (MWh) of storage to produce electricity on demand – improving grid stability, as well as supplying reliable, synchronous power.

“We believe the technology can be just as successful in the Hunter region and a key feature of our plans to transition the Liddell site into an Energy Hub, alongside grid-scale batteries and a waste to energy facility.

“Building on more than 180 years of history, AGL has a proud heritage of investment and innovation.

“We believe Liddell could have an essential role in the energy transition.

“As we transition to a cleaner energy future and meet our Climate Statement commitments, we are looking to make reliable long duration storage combined with solar generation a reality by overcoming traditional barriers for variable, renewable energy deployment.” 

RayGen has also received support from ARENA for the Carwarp site.

Chief executive officer Richard Payne said two years ago, AGL agreed to provide a vital “voice of customer” into the design process for RayGen’s new storage product.

“AGL provided valuable insights that enhanced our technology offering, and they are now supporting deployment with an offtake and investment,” he stated.

“This innovative collaboration between a ‘home-grown’ Australian technology start-up and Australia’s premier energy company will help pave the way to a lowest cost, secure and decarbonised grid.”

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