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MP welcomes plans to ‘plug in’ grid-scale battery at Liddell

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Hunter MP Dan Repacholi has welcomed the government’s plans to “plug in” a grid-scale battery in his electorate.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese recently announced his desire to make energy cleaner, cheaper and more secure across the National Electricity Market (NEM).

And, he’s backing that up with a $176 million investment in advanced battery technology to deliver 2GW of dispatchable power, including a major facility at Liddell.

It comes as the Liddell Power Station, located between Muswellbrook and Singleton, prepares to close its doors in April next year.

Neighbouring Baywater Power Station will also shut down operations by 2033. 

Mr Repacholi said plans for a 250MW battery, delivered in partnership with AGL, would include grid-forming inverter technology, which was critical to system security and reliability.

“The government is getting on with the job and delivering the electricity [strength] needed to unlock renewables,” the federal member stated.

“The eight grid-scale batteries will be funded through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA) Large Scale Battery Storage funding round.

“The total value of all projects is about $2.7 billion.

“But, this battery will help stabilise the grid and deliver the cleanest, cheapest form of energy for local businesses and households.

“This investment looks to distribute approximately 2GW of dispatchable power to ensure everyone can count on the increasingly renewable energy they use being available when they need it.”

AGL chief operating officer Markus Brokhof said with one unit of Liddell Power Station already closed and the remaining units closing in 2023, the company was already working to repurpose the site for construction of the battery.

“Reaching this next stage of negotiating formal terms for a funding agreement with ARENA is another exciting step towards delivering on the Liddell battery project and the development of the Hunter Energy Hub as we head toward a final investment decision on the battery,” he stated.

“As we move away from coal-powered energy, it is critical we invest and deliver on building firming capacity and demonstrate grid forming capabilities in the NEM through projects like the Liddell battery.

“AGL is Australia’s leading private investor in renewable energy and the operator of the largest portfolio of renewable and battery assets of any ASX-listed company.

“As we execute our ambition to supply up to 12GW of renewable and firming capacity by 2036, we expect to bring forward more projects like the Liddell battery.”

The Hunter Energy Hub will see the site of the Liddell Power Station repurposed into an integrated centre, which is envisaged to include the battery, a wind farm, a solar storage system, a waste-to-energy plant and a green hydrogen production facility with a number of partners already on board and progressing feasibility studies.  

The Liddell battery project was granted approval by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment in April and AGL aims to eventually develop an overall project incorporating two battery units comprising up to a total of 500MW/2GWh.

Only last week, the Australian Government delivered on its commitment to position the Port of Newcastle, and the region, as a green hydrogen hub.

The $100 million funding package will support a feasibility study, detailed designs and vital early works to guarantee the port is ready for the production and distribution of low carbon power.

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