Massive Battery Plant Could Bring Jobs Boom To Townsville

Energy storage manufacturing in Townsville

Townsville – Beautiful One Day, Battery Powered Economy The Next? – Image: ROxBo, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

A consortium has inked an agreement with Queensland’s Townsville City Council to investigate the viability of constructing of a huge battery manufacturing facility capable of churning out one million home batteries annually.

The Boston Energy and Innovation (BEI) led consortium signed an exclusive Memorandum of Understanding with Council last week.

According to BEI, the proposed facility would have an annual storage production capacity of 15GWh. As a comparison, the Tesla Gigafactory’s planned full annual battery production capacity is 35 gigawatt-hours a year.

In addition to all that Australian-made battery storage, a huge bonus from the Townsville project would be up to 1000 direct jobs in the facility itself, an additional 1000 jobs associated with direct support business activity and up to 5,000 new positions in downstream original equipment manufacturing activities.

Potential For A Million Batteries Per Year

“The construction of a 15GWh manufacturing plant has the ability to revolutionise energy storage in Townsville and its sustainable production. This is a strategic step for Australia to be a world leader on the battery frontier and to ensure energy security,” says BEI.

“Once in full production, the 15GWh manufacturing facility can produce either 250,000 car batteries per annum (up to 400kms range) or one million home battery units or support 300 microgrids to power small towns.”

Other BEI consortium members and their roles in the project:

  • Magnis Resources Limited (graphite anode materials and technologies)
  • Eastman Kodak Company (cathode materials and manufacturing expertise)
  • C4V incorporated (cathode materials and manufacturing expertise)
  • C&D Assembly Incorporated  (lithium-ion battery management systems)

Townsville Mayor Cr Jenny Hill is understandably very upbeat about the potential of this venture, stating Council “will do everything we can to secure the project”.

“The proposal, if it comes off, will be the single biggest stimulus for jobs and economic development in Townsville for decades,” said Mayor Hill.

The Boston Energy and Innovation consortium’s advisory panel is led by Bill Moss AO. Other members of the panel include Professor Stanley Whittingham, best known as the inventor of early lithium-ion battery technology – a feat that earned him a Nobel Science Prize nomination.

BEI describes itself as an ethical investment house specialising in establishing sustainable energy storage solutions.

The Townsville area is attracting a great deal of interest from the solar power and energy storage industry. Among other projects in the region is the Ross River Solar Farm – a gargantuan 142 megawatt facility that will feature 450,000 solar panels to be built on a disused mango plantation.

While on the topic of jobs, solar and renewables in Queensland generally, we mentioned last week the 50MW Kidston Solar Project (Phase 1) is on track and will employ around 85 people during construction; with the developer currently recruiting.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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