South Australiaâ€™s Minister for Energy and Mining Dan â€śThe Battery Manâ€ť van Holst Pellekaan is pretty excited about Infigen Energyâ€™s Lake Bonney big battery.
The 25MW/52MWh Tesla Powerpack based lithium-ion battery system is part of the Lake Bonney Wind Farm, which is situated approximately 2 kilometres from the eastern shore of Lake Bonney,Â near Millicent in South Australia.
The wind farm was built in three stages, with the first stage commencing commercial operations in 2005 and the final stage in 2010. Boasting a total capacity of 278.5 MW, it generates enough energy to provide for the electricity needs of equivalent to 110,000 homes â€“ around 14% of all dwellings in South Australia.
The new battery system enables Infigen to enter into additional energy supply contracts with commercial and industrial customers and support existing contracts, such as one recently inked with Tesla that will see the firm supplying energy for Tesla electric vehicle supercharger stations across Australia.
The system will store energy during times of low market prices and the energy released when needed, making a bundle of cash for Infigen, but also putting downwards pressure on high market prices. It will also help improve system security in the National Electricity Market (NEM) through the supply of Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS).
According to a release from Minister van Holst Pellekaanâ€™s office, the big battery is in the â€śfinal stages of testing and close to full commercial operationâ€ť, but RenewEconomy reported in December last year that the battery was in â€śfull productionâ€ť at that point.
The $38 million project has been supported by a $5 million grant from the South Australian Government, along with $5 million from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
Speaking during a visit to the Lake Bonney facility, Minister van Holst Pellekaan said grid scale storage is critical to making South Australiaâ€™s renewable energy work for consumers, including boosting retail competition.
â€śAssets such as the Lake Bonney Wind Farm and Battery provide reliable, affordable and renewable electricity to this stateâ€™s commercial and industrial customers,â€ť stated Minister van Holst Pellekaan. â€śIt will allow South Australia to incorporate more renewable energy into the system and move towards net-100% renewable energy in the 2030â€™s.â€ť
South Australiaâ€™s Marshall Government has set up a $50 million Grid Scale Storage Fund that aims to accelerate the rollout of big batteries and other forms of energy storage. Another beneficiary of the fund is a 50 MW/64.5 MWh expansion of the Hornsdale Power Reserve (aka Tesla Big Battery). Hornsdale owner Neoen hopes to have the additional capacity in place and operating by March.