On behalf of the Australian Government, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has today announced $6.6 million in funding to Edify Energy to build a 25 MW / 50 MWh battery with advanced inverters adjacent to the 275 MW Darlington Point Solar Farm in south west New South Wales.
ARENA’s funding has also supported an expansion of the project to a total of 150 MW. The entire project will be equipped with advanced inverters to help future-proof the Darlington Point area as renewable energy generation continues to expand in south western NSW.
Edify’s battery will be one of the most advanced battery systems in the National Electricity Market once built, further extending the capabilities of large scale batteries equipped with advanced inverter technology by demonstrating that they can substitute for more traditional forms of synchronous generation and synchronous condensers.
The battery will help to improve system strength in a weak part of the grid, as well as facilitating a higher penetration of renewable energy at the lowest cost to the system.
The NSW Government will also provide $6.5 million in funding for the battery, as part of its $75 million Emerging Energy Program.
Advanced inverters enable grid scale and grid connected batteries to provide system stability services traditionally provided by synchronous generation, such as coal or gas. Finding new ways of providing stability to the electricity system will enable the grid to operate with higher shares of variable renewable energy. Last year, the Australian Energy Market Operator published its white paper on advanced inverters highlighting the critical importance of grid scale batteries equipped with advanced inverter technology in supporting the energy transition.
ARENA CEO Darren Miller said large scale batteries are now being seen as more than just storage devices for the grid and will be used to their full potential.
“ARENA has been working with key stakeholders, including AEMO, to accelerate the commercialisation of large scale batteries for many years.”
“It is important that we now take full advantage of the capabilities that large scale batteries can provide by adding advanced inverters to ensure ongoing grid stability as synchronous generators retire and renewables provide a higher share of supply.”
“Edify has been one of the early adopters and pioneers of large scale batteries in Australia. Having worked together on the Gannawarra Energy Storage System, we’re excited to be supporting them once again in deploying new battery technologies to strengthen the grid as we transition.”
To prove the capability of advanced inverters at scale, ARENA recently announced a $100 million competitive funding round for grid scale batteries equipped with the technology.
ARENA has previously funded four other projects which seek to demonstrate advanced inverter functionality, including AGL’s Broken Hill battery, Electranet’s ESCRI battery, the Hornsdale Power Reserve expansion, and Transgrid’s Wallgrove battery. ESCRI is currently Australia’s largest grid connected battery using advanced inverter technology, while Hornsdale Power Reserve and the Wallgrove Grid Battery will have advanced inverter capability enabled later this year.
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