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SA's Big Battery about to get bigger

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South Australia’s Hornsdale Power Reserve, also known as the Big Battery, will expand by 50 per cent under a deal expected to boost grid stability and lower household power bills.

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The site, near Jamestown in the state’s mid-north, is already the world’s largest lithium-ion battery, with an output of 100MW/129MWh.

It entered the National Electricity Market in 2017.

Site owner/operator Neoen and the government today announced the site’s expansion, with extra Tesla powerpacks to deliver another 50MW/64.5MWh when completed before July 2020.

The state government is contributing another $15 million over five years to the site through its Grid Scale Storage Fund, intended to boost new energy storage projects to offset fluctuations in the state’s electricity supply.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency is giving $8 million to the project.

Energy and Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the expansion would cut household power bills and provide grid security lost with the closure of the coal-fired Northern Power Station at Port Augusta.

The government said the expansion was expected to be a “world-leading demonstration” of how battery storage can provide inertia, keeping frequency constant in a manner previously provided by spinning turbines in large power stations.

“We want South Australians to have cheaper and cleaner power, and renewable energy must be paired with storage to provide electricity to households and businesses when they need it,” van Holst Pellekaan said.

“This expansion will support our transition to net-100% renewables energy and show the world a better way to manage the transition to renewable energy.

“The expansion will enable a much faster and bigger response to system disturbances, so the Big Battery can help stabilise the grid and store even more power for peak demand.”

Neoen said proving the potential of batteries to provide inertia to the power network was critical to grid stability and the future integration of renewable energy.

“This will ensure South Australia can continue to harvest its world class wind and solar resources and support the transition to net 100% renewable energy generation in the 2030s, and further drive down electricity prices for all consumers,” it said.

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