The need for large-scale energy storage has increased in recent years as more variable energy (i.e. solar and wind) has come onto the market. Technology advancements and the creation of new markets are helping to make large-scale energy storage a commercial reality.

While electricity cannot itself be stored on any scale, it can be converted to other forms of energy which can be stored and later reconverted to electricity on demand. This can help smooth out supply from variable renewable energy sources like wind and solar. Electricity storage systems can also provide ancillary services to the transmission system to help maintain system security and reliability.

Battery (chemical) storage

Batteries are an energy storage technology that use chemicals to absorb and release energy on demand – typically storing energy during times of low demand and releasing energy at times of peak demand. Batteries provide flexibility and can respond quickly (within fractions of a second) to maintain grid stability.

Battery use in the Australian electricity grid is expected to grow in the future due to government policies, technological advances and rapid cost decreases.

We have recently completed a feasibility study to understand the opportunities and emerging markets for battery storage, and how it might integrate with our portfolio as it evolves to provide dispatchable and renewable supply.

Tarong battery energy storage system (BESS)

In September 2023, construction commenced on a large-scale standalone battery in the southern renewable energy zone (located near Tarong Power Station).

The project is being built in two stages and is providing local employment and supply chain opportunities for the South Burnett region. Up to 80 full-time employees will be engaged over the 20-month construction phase, with six full-time jobs created over the 20-year operation and maintenance phase.

The 300-megawatt (MW) battery, with two hours storage, will enable us to support investment in renewables within the region and help maintain system security and reliability.

The battery is on schedule to commence commissioning in mid-2024 and be fully operational by the end of 2026.

Once operational, the battery will be charged by renewable energy during periods of high generation and then discharged back into the grid during periods of high demand.

Stanwell battery energy storage system (BESS)

We have received approval to build a 300-megawatt battery with four hours storage in the Central Renewable Energy Zone (located near Stanwell Power Station) near Rockhampton in Queensland.

The Stanwell BESS is supported by $448.2 million in funding from the State Government’s Queensland Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund.

Construction of the battery energy storage system is scheduled to commence in May 2024. It is due to commence operating in mid-2027.

Up to 80 full-time jobs will be created over the construction phase, with six full-time jobs over the 20-year operation and maintenance phase of the project.

Stanwell will continue to provide secure jobs and new opportunities for its employees at both of our mega battery projects. And continue to maintain the important economic and social contribution we make in the regions.

Stanwell BESS Fact Sheet

Pumped hydro energy storage

We are investigating pumped hydro and chemical battery storage solutions to create value for our portfolio and to help facilitate the integration of variable renewable energy into the energy system.

Hydropower and pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) covert the energy of moving water into electricity.

PHES uses water reservoirs as a way of storing energy. Excess energy, either from the grid or a renewable energy source such as a wind or solar farm, can be used during low demand periods to pump water from a lower dam to a higher one, essentially converting the upper reservoir into a giant battery. The stored energy can then be released by returning the water through a hydroelectric turbine into the lower reservoir.

We are currently investigating a range of PHES opportunities throughout Queensland.

Opportunities and benefits

Energy storage offers advantages throughout the supply chain including:

  • allowing greater deployment of variable renewable generation;
  • increasing reliability for end users;
  • minimising the fluctuation of electricity prices;
  • improving system reliability; and
  • maximising system flexibility.

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