Akaysha’s 2hr Tasmania battery flies through approvals in months

Akaysha Energy, the battery storage developer backed by global funds management giant BlackRock, has flown through the Northern Midlands planning process to get its two hour battery in Palmerston, Tasmania, approved in just four months.

It raced through a similar process in Victoria, in just six months, for the four-hour “Elaine” big battery[1].

Melbourne-based consultancy Cogency said in a LinkedIn post that neither project received any objections and slated the swift approvals down to robust design, detailed technical work and comprehensive stakeholder engagement.

What helped push the application, lodged in August, through quickly was multiple rounds of community engagement before and during the planning process with Poatina residents to ensure the project had their support, says Akaysha Energy development and delivery managing director Tony Fullelove.

The “Palmerston” battery is a 100MW/200MWh BESS that will be built next to the Palmerston substation, near the town of Poatina which is about 50 kilometres south of Launceston in the central lakes district of the island.

It was approved by the council in November last year and in its application documents, used containerised Tesla Megapack units with a capacity of 3MWh per unit as an example of what the battery might look like.

Akaysha is aiming for a financial close decision in early 2025 with construction to commence soon after and a goal of early 2027 for commercial operations date) to start, Fullelove says.

The Palmerston substation is a popular spot, with Neoen’s 280 MW/560 MWh Great Lake Battery also approved just two months earlier by the Northern Midlands Council, in September.[2]

It will be built in two stages, each sized at 140 MW and 280 MWh.

The two projects will feed off the growing number of renewable energy projects in the area, from the existing 144 megawatt (MW) Cattle Hill wind farm, in operation since 2020, to Ark Energy’s proposed 300 MW wind farm and Tasmania’s first major solar farm[3], a 288 MW project that was approved in December.

Wins everywhere

Akaysha has had a swathe of battery approvals and project wins come through recently, and is exploring new options in Victoria, Japan and the US.

In Victoria, the four-hour “Elaine” big battery was approved[4] after being expanded to 311MW and 1244 MWh, which is sited near to part of Atmos Renewables’ 228MW Lal Lal wind farm.

It will be one of the first in the state to have four hours of storage and Akaysha expects it to reach financial close in the second half of this year, with construction to start in early 2025. Operations should start in the second half of 2026, Fullelove says.

In November, the company won a tender to build a 415MW, four hour battery (1660MWh) at Orana in the central west of New South Wales, and it’s  also building the 850MW, 1680MWh Waratah Super battery at the site of the shuttered Munmorah coal fired power station, which will act as a kind of giant “shock absorber” for the grid by increasing capacity on key transmission lines.

Akaysha’s proposal for the 205MW, two hour (410 MWh) Brendale battery in Brisbane was given the go ahead in December. [5]

It will be built on a site owned by Unitywater, next to its Brendale sewage works and the South Pine substation, and which will feature Tesla Megapack technology and be built by Consolidated Power Projects.

The company has announced five other projects that it’s planning, two of which it wants to use lithium iron phosphate battery technology in.

These are the Ulinda Park 150MW/300MWh battery in the Western Downs in Queensland has development approval and the company expects operations to start in 2025, and a  500MW/2000MWh battery near the Halys substation is also in the wings.

See also RenewEconomy’s Big Battery Storage Map of Australia [6]

Rachel Williamson is a science and business journalist, who focuses on climate change-related health and environmental issues.

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