AGL announces Australia’s second-biggest energy storage system

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Energy company AGL has announced that it will be building the second-largest battery energy storage system in South Australia.

The utility is investing $180 million (US$131 million) for the construction of a 250MW/250MWh battery energy storage system at Torrens Island in South Australia.

The project is AGL’s first grid-scale battery energy storage system and will be developed in partnership with technology company Wärtsilä.

The plant will enable the storage of both thermal and renewable energy. With AGL producing 20% of Australia’s total electricity, battery storage is expected to play a key role in ensuring the reliability of the grid during peak periods. Meaning electricity can be stored during times when demand is low for use during peak periods.

Energy storage will also enable the utility to expand its portfolio of renewable energy as well as address its fluctuating nature. AGL plans up to 850MW of grid-scale energy storage capacity across Australia.

Construction is planned to commence in late 2021 for operations to kickstart in 2023.

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The storage system will operate initially in grid-following mode before switching at a later date to grid-forming mode (virtual synchronous generation–VSG), making it the largest energy storage solution capable of operating in this mode, according to a statement.

Sushil Purohit, President, Wärtsilä Energy, said: “This is a landmark project. Renewable generation is growing rapidly in South Australia.”

Purohit said the energy storage will enable the increased use of renewables to provide affordable electricity to consumers. The project is expected to help Australia to speed up its transition from fossil fuel-based energy generation to low-carbon resources.

AGL Chief Operating Officer, Markus Brokhof said AGL is excited to begin these works as they develop their sites into low-carbon industrial energy hubs.

Said Brokhof: “Torrens Island has played an important role in the state’s energy generation for many decades and our plans ensure the site’s legacy continues with smart and sustainable technologies.Sign up for our newsletter and stay informed

“We estimate up to 50 local jobs during the peak of the construction phase, in addition to the 400 employees already working at our South Australian sites.”