Shell JV unveils plan for “one of the biggest” big batteries in NSW
A joint venture between Ampyr Energy and global oil giant Shell will develop one of the biggest batteries yet proposed for New South Wales; a 500MW/1,000MWh facility that will be used to “smooth the grid” in the state’s Central West.
Ampyr Australia, the local arm of Singapore-based outfit Ampyr Energy says it has agreed with Shell Energy Australia to jointly develop, own and operate the battery energy storage system in Wellington.
Once operational, Shell Energy will hold the rights to charge and dispatch energy from the BESS.
The 500MW, two-hour Wellington BESS – which Ampyr says has been under development for more than 18 months – will connect to the TransGrid Wellington substation.
Ampyr says it will complement the existing and proposed pipeline of renewables projects in the Central West Orana REZ, smooth fluctuations in electricity supply, and provide system security and other network services.
Full speed ahead on shift to renewables, storage
The new battery plans come little more than a week after NSW launched the first in a series of renewable energy and energy storage auctions to replace the state’s retiring coal-fired power stations.
The historic tender, launched alongside the landmark NSW Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap, marked the first of a 10-year schedule of rolling tenders that are expected to incentivise around $32 billion in private capital.
All up the NSW tender process, which will be overseen by AEMO Services, aims deliver 12 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030 and 2GW of long duration energy storage.
The first competitive tender, open to bids on until October 28, is centred on the Central-West Orana REZ, based around Dubbo and Dunedoo on the lands of the Wiradjuri, Wailwan and Kamilaroi people.
Although AEMO Services says “sufficiently advanced projects” from across the state are also encouraged to participate.
Construction tipped for mid-2023
For the Wellington BESS, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project is expected to be released for public consultation later this month and Ampyr says that, subject to approvals and finance, construction could kick off as early as mid-way through next year.
Ampyr director, Ben Salmon, says the big battery will be one of the largest in NSW, contributing to the reliability of the National Electricity Market and bolstering the shift to renewables.
“It is a very exciting time for renewable energy in Central West NSW, with over 3GW of utility-scale wind and solar operating, in construction and under development.
This is great for the economy … [and] will boost growth in regional NSW and form a critical part of the new energy future for the region,” Salmon said.
From beer to big batteries
Headquartered in Singapore, with operations and assets in Australia, India, Europe, the UK and the US, Ampyr Energy has largely focused on utility-scale solar and – on the storage front – behind-the-meter and utility-scale BESS assets.
In March of this year, Ampyr Energy announced joint venture plans to roll out 5GW of large-scale solar projects across the US, having embarked on similar plans for Europe a year earlier.
In Australia, so far, the company played a notable role in the installation, last year, of a 3MW rooftop solar system at one of Australia’s biggest breweries – the Asahi Beverage Yatala on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
That project – pictured above – was described by Ampyr’s installation partner on the job, Smart Commercial Solar, as one of the most complex projects the company had undertaken in Australia. The sheer size of the central solar control room, for instance, required it to be escorted by police to site.
Smart Commercial Solar general manager Maximilian Stenning said at the time that the installation took more than 20 workers roughly 18 months to complete and required more than 150km of cable to be laid to fill “virtually every bit of available space” on the brewery’s roof with solar panels.