Queensland-made batteries powering renewable future

6 October 2023

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced a binding agreement for publicly owned electricity generator Stanwell Corporation to develop grid-scale iron flow battery storage systems with Queensland-based Energy Storage Industries — Asia Pacific (ESI).

In her State of the State address, the Premier said work had also started on the Stanwell Clean Energy Hub that will use ESI’s Maryborough-made iron flow batteries.

“Stanwell has now entered into a partnership with Energy Storage Industries Asia Pacific to secure the first large scale deployment of locally made flow batteries in Australia,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

ESI is delivering 20 12m-long batteries to Stanwell as part of a pilot project that creates 1 MW/10 MWh of medium-duration energy storage — the first base-load iron flow battery in Australia and the largest in the world.

ESI’s battery is the first technology to be tested at Stanwell’s Future Energy and Innovation Training Hub (FEITH) to accelerate Queensland’s energy transformation at Stanwell Power Station near Rockhampton.

Iron flow batteries can provide up to 8-14 hours of energy storage, making them ideal for supporting and firming the electricity network during high demand and low renewable energy generation. The batteries, which have a life of 25 years, are entirely recyclable and made with environmentally friendly electrolytes produced in Townsville.

The agreement also provides Stanwell with rights to purchase up to 200 MW of storage a year from 2026, helping Queensland to deliver the Energy and Jobs Plan. The project aims to deliver a 150 MW battery installation into commercial operation as early as 2029. This would power 50,000 homes overnight.

ESI Managing Director Stuart Parry praised the Queensland Government for their leadership in investing in base-load iron flow batteries that are essential for a smooth transition to a renewable energy future.

“The battery at Stanwell Clean Energy Hub is the first of many that will be deployed across the state to help stabilise energy supply from renewables and provide energy at night or when the sun doesn’t shine,” Mr Parry said.

“Importantly, ESI’s batteries will be manufactured in a new $70 million Maryborough facility by skilled workers helping to drive a low carbon future for Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

“We look forward to working with Stanwell to deliver this and future projects, which are critical to supplying Queensland’s long-term energy needs.”

Stanwell Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Rourke said: “To deliver the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan, Stanwell is building a renewable energy portfolio of at least 9 to 10 GW by 2035, and at least 3 to 3.5 GW of energy storage.

“We’re excited about the possibilities of Queensland-made batteries playing a fundamental role providing Queensland homes and business with reliable, renewable energy,” Mr O’Rourke said.