$1.8 Billion Transmission & Battery Investment Promise for NSW

Battery and electricity transmission investment in NSW

Given AEMO’s warning last week that Australia’s renewables rollout is lagging, this is timely: the NSW State Government is putting $800 million into its Transmission Acceleration Facility to speed up the transmission build between its Renewable Energy Zones (REZs) and the state’s grid.

The money will also support various benefit schemes planned for communities.

It’s part of a $1.8 billion total investment announced yesterday, which also includes establishing the Energy Security Corporation (ESC).

First cab off the rank will be the Central West Orana REZ near Dubbo, to be followed by the Hunter Transmission Project and the 850 MW / 1680 MWh Waratah Super Battery near Newcastle.

The Central West Orana REZ will take a step forward this month with the state government to submit its environmental impact statement to the Department of Planning and Environment, with a public exhibition to follow “within weeks”.

The Minns Government says the funding is part of a plan to “keep the lights on” during the renewable energy transition.

It said it expects to recover the transmission investment from companies developing REZ projects “once projects reach financial close”. That will then allow investment in further REZ projects.

The Minns Government said it will also budget $1 billion for setting up its Energy Security Corporation (ESC), which could invest in projects such as community batteries and virtual power plants to reduce communities’ reliance on the grid.

The ESC’s investments in commercial projects will operate similarly to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

AEMO warned last week in its 2023 Electricity Statement of Opportunities that “urgent and ongoing” investment in transmission and grid-scale renewable projects is required to ensure system stability over the next 10 years, with 62 percent of the NEM’s coal generators slotted for closure during that timeframe.

About Richard Chirgwin

Joining the SolarQuotes blog team in 2019, Richard is a journalist with more than 30 years of experience covering a wide range of technology topics, including electronics, telecommunications, computing, science and solar. When not writing for us, he runs a solar-powered off-grid eco-resort in NSW’s blue mountains. Read Richard's full bio.

Comments

  1. Geoff Miell says

    Within the Lithgow City Council LGA, where there are already excellent transmission links, there are 4 substantial energy storage project proposals I see in the development pipeline:

    * Neoen’s “Great Western” BESS (500 MW / 1,000 MWh), SSD-12346552
    https://pp.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/projects/great-western-battery-energy-storage-system

    * Greenspot’s “Wallerawang 9” BESS (500 MW / 1,000 MWh), SSD-14540514
    https://pp.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/projects/wallerawang-battery-energy-storage-system

    * EnergyAustralia’s “Mt Piper” BESS (500 MW / 2,000 MWh), SSD-50903958
    https://pp.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/projects/mt-piper-battery-energy-storage-system

    * EnergyAustralia’s “Lake Lyell” PHES (350 MW / 2,800 MWh), SSD-60598738
    https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/projects/lake-lyell-pumped-hydro

    I can’t understand why Neoen’s Great Western BESS project is taking so long (30+ months & still no end in sight) to get approval.

    Despite gaining NSW planning approvals more than a year ago, the Wallerawang 9 project is not yet showing signs of progressing to a construction phase.

    Some or perhaps all of the above BESS proposals could still provide much needed timely energy storage capacity, before NSW’s Eraring PS is scheduled to close in Aug 2025, but there seems to be a dearth of any sense of urgency to get any of these projects operational.

    It seems when the NSW Government wants to get a project approved quickly, for example with the Waratah Super BESS (850 MW / 1,680 MWh) project (Scoping Report issued Sep 2022 through to approval on 21 Feb 2023 – less than 6 months duration) & now proceeding under construction, then it appears at least some developments in NSW can be actioned quickly!

    It seems to me a litany of poor energy policy decisions and a lack of leadership at all levels of both Coalition & Labor governments over many years, now risks hurting many energy consumers soon.

  2. George Kaplan says

    AEMO gave a warning last week about Australian renewables lagging?

    I know they’re warning of blackouts and higher power prices without urgent investment because of coal, gas and diesel generation closures, but perhaps different folk focus on different aspects of the news, or the actual report?

    Up to 62% of coal generation is expected to close before 2031, yet according to the NEM dashboard, black coal provided 45% of power in the last 12 months, with brown coal supplying a further 18%. If 62% of coal power is to be closed by 2031, that means Australia, or at least the NEM served part, is facing a loss of 39% of its power!

    Given demand is increasing, EVs are being pushed, these further increase power demands, we’re facing a massive reduction in power, and it takes time to approve and build power infrastructure, Australia would appear to be headed for problems. Time to stock up on candles?

    • George you are spot on , EV “s will put further strain on the systems. We need to sort reliable renewables , with if needed coal / gas power stations as a backup, before forcing EV”s down our throats

    • George Kaplan: – “…yet according to the NEM dashboard, black coal provided 45% of power in the last 12 months, with brown coal supplying a further 18%.

      Which NEM dashboard?

      Per OpenNEM, for the period 10 Sep 2022 to 10 Sep 2023 in the whole NEM, daily basis 12-month rolling average:

      Solar (rooftop): _ _ _ _ 21,659 GWh (10.4%)
      Solar (utility): _ _ _ _ _ 13,467 GWh (6.5%)
      Wind: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 27,263 GWh (13.1%)
      Hydro: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _15,917 GWh (7.6%)
      Bioenergy (Biomass): _ _ 166 GWh (0.08%)
      Bioenergy (Biogas): _ _ _ 24.9 GWh (0.01%)

      Renewables: _ _ _ _ _ 78,498 GWh (37.7%)

      Battery (discharging): _ _ _295 GWh (0.1%)

      Coal (black): _ _ _ _ _ 87,219 GWh (41.8%)
      Coal (brown): _ _ _ _ _32,077 GWh (15.4%)

      Gas (CCGT): _ _ _ _ _ _6,603 GWh (3.2%)
      Gas (OCGT): _ _ _ _ _ _2,083 GWh (1.0%)
      Gas (Steam): _ _ _ _ _ _ _874 GWh (0.4%)
      Gas (Waste Coal Mine): _ 489 GWh (0.2%)
      Gas (Reciprocating): _ _ _ 248 GWh (0.1%)

      Distillate: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 34 GWh (0.02%)
      https://opennem.org.au/energy/nem/?range=1y&interval=1d

      George Kaplan: – “Given demand is increasing, EVs are being pushed, these further increase power demands, we’re facing a massive reduction in power, and it takes time to approve and build power infrastructure, Australia would appear to be headed for problems.

      I’d suggest that’s as a consequence from the legacy of decades of incompetent energy policies from both the Coalition and Labor at both federal and state levels. We are now reaping the whirlwind.

      And there’s also lethal temperatures/humidity to contend with – candles won’t help with that. See Dr Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest’s presentation in the YouTube video titled Dr Andrew Forrest AO speaks at the Boao Forum Asia, duration 0:24:10.

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