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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Will Eraring Power Station be home to Australia’s largest battery?

Lake Macquarie could soon be home to the nation’s largest battery at Eraring Power Station, if Origin Energy Limited’s latest proposal receives the green light.

The company is progressing plans for the development, which boasts an overall capacity of up to 700MW and a dispatch duration of four hours, making the project one of the biggest currently under consideration in Australia.

Origin recently issued an Expression of Interest (EoI) to suitably qualified firms to supply and install the large-scale battery.

A Connection Enquiry has also been lodged with NSW transmission network service provider TransGrid to link the battery to the national grid via the Eraring substation.

Origin executive general manager, energy supply and operations, Greg Jarvis said deploying a battery at Eraring supported their decarbonisation objectives and recent NSW energy policy announcements.

“We recognise we have an important role to play in positioning Origin’s electricity generation portfolio to support Australia’s rapid transition to renewables,” he explained.

“A large-scale battery at Eraring will help us better support renewable energy and maintain reliable supply for customers, by having long duration storage ready to dispatch into the grid at times when renewable sources are not available.

“The deployment of this battery will back Origin’s orderly transition away from coal-fired generation by 2032, while complementing the policy objectives of the NSW energy roadmap.”

The news was certainly welcomed by Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper, who was briefed on the project yesterday (Monday 11 January).

“This is a massive step towards transitioning from coal to renewables by a major local player,” he said.

“Such a project will cost Origin, conservatively, more than a billion dollars.

“At the moment, the coal-fired Eraring Power Station is slated for closure in 2032.

“So, it’s great that the company is committing to the site, investing in this type of energy production, storage and despatch now and transitioning to cleaner systems.

“In simple terms, the battery would be used to store 700 megawatts of electricity from any source and send that power into the grid when needed.

“That energy could come from solar, wind, gas or any other [energy source].

“Most importantly, it will help to drive down emissions as more renewables become available and better balance our electricity network.

“As Origin says, it’s supporting an orderly transition away from coal-fired power – and this massive battery project will help to ensure that a reliable energy source is maintained in NSW.”

Following selection of a preferred supplier, achievement of the required permitting, and establishment of the network connection, as well as Origin Board approval, the operational capacity of the battery is expected to be deployed over three phases, with the first scheduled to be reached by late 2022.