Hunter organisations and politicians have labelled the location of the Waratah Super Battery, on the site of the former Munmorah Power Station, as a big win for the region.
The facility, believed to be the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, will provide at least 700MW of standby network capacity to the grid, according to NSW Minister for Energy Matt Kean.
“Lake Munmorah boasts a long history in energy generation, with the now demolished station helping to power the state for more than 40 years,” he said.
“So, I’m thrilled we are announcing the return of more [energy] capacity to the area.
“The Waratah Super Battery will drive up to $1 billion in private investment in new storage and associated network upgrades, generating more than 100 jobs in the Hunter and Central Coast regions.
“It’ll ensure electricity consumers in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong have access to more energy from existing generators while new transmission connections are developed.”
In June, local Labor MPs and Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change Jihad Dib called on the government to locate the battery at the ex-Munmorah Power Station site.
Swansea MP Yasmin Catley said the latest decision made “perfect sense”.
“It is owned by the government and all the transmission infrastructure is already in place,” she explained.
“Not only will this project deliver up to 150 construction jobs during its development and 10-to-15 ongoing positions, but it will also open up an opportunity to turn the old power station into a renewable energy manufacturing hub on the Central Coast.
“This will mean good paying, highly-skilled careers into the future.”
Business Hunter CEO Bob Hawes admitted it was another step toward the development of the battery, which would help to build grid stability.
“It is pleasing to see progress on this important piece of infrastructure,” he said.
“And, it responds in part to calls from business for greater energy certainty in the transition from non-renewables to renewable sources of energy.
“As we exit coal-fired power stations, we must deal with generation capacity and grid reliability.
“So, we welcome the next step toward establishing the Waratah Super Battery.”
Mr Hawes said the facility would also play a critical role in adding firming storage capacity to complement foreshadowed wind and solar generation.
“With Eraring due to close in 2025, the Waratah Super Battery is just one part of the puzzle in realising the vision for the Hunter Central Coast Renewable Energy Zone,” he added.
“It’ll have the capacity to support 150,000 homes for about four hours; we’re going to need a whole lot more than that when you consider the needs of industry.
“We’re still some distance away from being able to provide the community and businesses the assurance and certainty of a continuation of reliable and affordable energy supply, particularly in the short term.
“Hopefully, this announcement sends a signal to investors and project proponents that we are on the move – and we will see very soon plans and ideas transformed into projects and commissioned generation and storage.”