NSW’s Waratah Super Battery Site Confirmed

Waratah Super Battery site - Lake Munmorah Power Station

It’s official – the site of the old Lake Munmorah Power Station on New South Wales’ Central Coast is to host the proposed Waratah Super Battery.

NSW’s State Government tabled the Waratah Super Battery project in February this year following Origin Energy’s announcement it would close Eraring Power Station at Lake Macquarie – a 2.8 GW coal-burner –  in 2025.

To help ensure the state continues to have reliable energy supply after Eraring’s exit, the State Government said it would install a 700MW/1400MWh grid battery, which is to be the largest network standby battery in the Southern Hemisphere. In addition to the battery system, transmission infrastructure will be constructed to connect the battery to the existing Munmorah Substation within the former power station, along with other ancillary infrastructure.

Designed to provide 24/7 reserve transmission capacity, the Waratah Super Battery will assist network stability and discharge based on network conditions as determined by the network operator.

In April this year, the Energy Corporation of NSW ( EnergyCo) kicked off an Expression of Interest process for the project, which closed in early May. Then in September, NSW Minister for Planning Anthony Roberts declared the project as Critical State Significant Infrastructure. Also last month, EnergyCo released a scoping report for the Waratah Super Battery.

While EnergyCo is still reviewing options for the most suitable battery technology for the project, the most feasible is lithium-ion batteries containerised or in other enclosed battery arrangements.

According to NSW Treasurer and Minister for Energy Matt Kean, the Waratah Super Battery will drive up  to $1 billion in private investment and create more than 100 jobs in the Hunter and Central Coast regions during construction. During its operational phase, it will support 10-15 jobs.

“Lake Munmorah has a long history in energy generation, with the now demolished power station helping to power the State for over 40 years,” said Minister Kean. ” I’m thrilled that today we are announcing the return of more energy capacity to the area.”

Assuming all the necessary approvals are granted, construction of the Waratah Super Battery is expected to begin early next year and completed by mid-2025 before Eraring switches off.

About Lake Munmorah Power Station

Lake Munmorah Power Station was a coal-fired generator with a total capacity of 1,400 MW when completed in 1969. It was the site of a NSW Government trial of ‘clean coal’ technology in 2007.

Lake Munmorah power station

Considered one of NSW’s filthiest coal fired clunkers in terms of emissions, the power station was retired by owner Delta Electricity in 2012.

The removal of the four 350 MW generation units, 155 meter high chimney stacks, boiler houses, coal handling plant, conveyors and 2.3km of ash lines fell to Liberty Industrial. And Liberty did a bang-up job of felling it all in what was claimed to be the largest power station demolition project to be carried out in Australia to that point (they even won an award for it.)

Liberty Industrial was also involved in the demolition of Wallerawang Power Station, which is to be home to the Wallerawang Big Battery.

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.

Comments

  1. Geoff Miell says

    Michael Bloch,
    To help ensure the state continues to have reliable energy supply after Eraring’s exit, the State Government said it would install a 700MW/1400MWh grid battery, which is to be the largest network standby battery in the Southern Hemisphere.

    I’d suggest the proposed BESSs listed below have bigger gigawatt-hour capacities (& some with bigger power outputs):

    * Liddell (NSW), by AGL, NSW DPIE approved 8 Mar 2022, 500 MW / up to 2,000 MWh, Stage 2 operational by 2025?

    * Eraring (NSW), by Origin, NSW DPIE approved 10 May 2022, 700 MW / up to 2,800 MWh, Stage 2 operational by 2025?

    * Orana (NSW), by Blackrock/Akaysha Energy, Prep EIS, 200–400 MW / up to 1,600 MWh, operational by 2025?

    * Mt Piper (NSW), by EnergyAustralia, announced feasibility study 13 Oct 2022, 500 MW / up to 2,000 MWh, operational by end-2026?

    * Goyder South (SA), by Neoen, SA Gov approved 15 Mar 2021, 900 MW / up to 1,800 MWh, operational dependent on EnergyConnect link progress

    * Supernode (QLD), by Quinbrook infrastructure partners, announced 8 Jul 2022, 800 MW / 2,000 MWh, operational ?

    * Collie (WA), by Neoen, community consultation in progress, 1,000 MW / up to 4,000 MWh, operational ?

    And I suspect the list will continue to grow.

  2. Geoff Miell says

    Michael Bloch,
    Also last month, EnergyCo released a scoping report for the Waratah Super Battery.

    The NSW Planning Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) was only issued last Friday, on 14 Oct 2022.
    https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/projects/waratah-super-battery-energy-storage-system

    Assuming all the necessary approvals are granted, construction of the Waratah Super Battery is expected to begin early next year and completed by mid-2025 before Eraring switches off.

    What gives you the notion that the project approval for the Waratah Super Battery would be forthcoming by early next year?

    E.g., Greenspot’s 500 MW / 1,000 MWh proposal planning progression timeline:

    * SEARS issued on 18 Mar 2021;
    * EIS prepared, dated Jan 2021;
    * Submissions received early Mar 2022;
    * Response to Submissions report, dated May 2022;
    * NSW DPIE approval given on 4 Aug 2022.
    https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/major-projects/projects/wallerawang-battery-energy-storage-system

    I doubt the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) documents for this project will be published on the NSW DPIE Major Projects website for public comment within this year, if the Greenspot example is anything to go by.

    Public exhibition of the EIS documents is usually for 28 days, then there’s the collation of the Submissions received from interested parties, followed by a written Response to Submissions from the proponent. Then NSW DPIE makes its assessment & recommendations.

    Provided everything goes smoothly and there are no significant delays in progressing the planning process, I’d expect planning approval would likely be forthcoming after mid-2023. Thus at best, construction is likely to start sometime in Q3, or more likely Q4 in 2023. I think it’s still possible for this project to be fully operational well before the coal-fired 2,880 MW capacity Eraring Power Station scheduled closure on 19 Aug 2025.

  3. A 1.4GWh battery will only cover one hour run of 2.88GW Eraring power (assuming 50% capacity factor). We will need 71 of these batteries to cover a 3-day cloudy calm period. Snowy2 at 350GWh will help but only after 2026.

    • Ronald Brakels says

      There can be three days of below average solar & wind output, but there has never been three days without any solar and wind output. Enough battery storage is required to meet peak demand and that can be kept charged by building additional solar and wind capacity and using existing hydroelectric capacity. (The extra solar and wind capacity will allow water to be kept in dams for when it’s needed.) This is much cheaper than trying to build days worth of battery storage.

      But note Australia already has something like 5 gigawatt-hours of battery storage in EVs, so we’re likely to end up with a lot anyway.

    • Geoff Miell says

      Dave,
      A 1.4GWh battery will only cover one hour run of 2.88GW Eraring power (assuming 50% capacity factor).

      Only if the battery had at least 1.44 GW power output capacity. The largest proposed BESS so far for Australia at Collie in WA with 1,000 MW / up to 4,000 GWh capacities would still only match a little over a third of Eraring’s rated maximum power output for a maximum of four hours.

      We will need 71 of these batteries to cover a 3-day cloudy calm period.

      The list of gigawatt-hour scale BESSs is growing: https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/waratah-super-battery-mb2677/#comment-1502250

      The list of pumped hydro projects is growing: https://reneweconomy.com.au/pumped-hydro-energy-storage-map-of-australia/

      Dave, please show me when (and on how many occasions) the whole of Australia has been becalmed AND overcast over any 3-day period.

      David Osmond suggests:

      With that in mind, exactly one year ago I started running a simple simulation of Australia’s main electricity grid to show that it can get very close to 100% renewable electricity with approximately five hours of storage (24GW/120GWh).

      https://reneweconomy.com.au/a-near-100-per-cent-renewables-grid-is-well-within-reach-and-with-little-storage/

      Snowy2 at 350GWh will help but only after 2026.

      It looks to me that storage capacity allocated for Snowy 2 (2,000 MW) beyond 40 GWh (20 hours at 2GW output) increasingly depletes the available storage capacity for operating Tumut 3 (1,800 MW).
      https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/snowy-2-vs-battery-storage/#comment-1497959

      IMO, Snowy 2.0 being operational in 2026 looks increasingly unlikely.
      https://reneweconomy.com.au/snowy-2-0-contractor-drama-continues-with-talk-of-sale-raising-new-concerns/

      • When and how often:
        1st to 5th July 2010 was a very bad period for little wind and solar. Based on 2006 to 2020 modelling. Only Average of 20GW from 57GW wind and 84GW PV.

        See: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/2515-7620/ac5677
        Figure 1: Show significant curtailment (too much power red) ( during Springs) and blackout (black) every few years.
        Figure 2: Show Winter 2010 still have black outs even with 3.3TWh of storage and assuming 57 GW wind and 84 GW PV

        I question the Snowy2 number 350GWh and completion date as well, but it only makes the task more difficult.

        Kidston 250MW/1.9GWh took from 2016-2023 to first power, much slower than battery, so Hydro is not going to help before 2025, but to build so many batteries 825 (3.3TWh/4GWh)..

        Storage amounts required are a balance between curtailment and blackouts. I hope there are a lot of clever people in the NEM working it this out..

      • It has happened that very little wind and sunlight for days in Victoria and nsw.
        Do you think Queensland will supply power over their state first

        • Geoff Miell says

          Ian Hill,
          It has happened that very little wind and sunlight for days in Victoria and nsw.

          Data? Can you quantify or are you just ‘hand waving’?

          Who do you believe – Boston et. al. OR Blakers et. al.?
          https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/waratah-super-battery-mb2677/#comment-1502706

        • Ian,
          I don’t think it would be allowed under the rules on trade under the Federation. I am in WA so just keep the SWIS separate! We have little opportunities for PHES (Blakers), so it will be batteries for 4 hours and then Open gas backup.
          Hopefully the latter will only be used once or twice a year. Green Hydrogen seem decades away. Technology (eg SMR) may change the whole landscape in a decade.

          • Geoff Miell says

            Dave,
            I am in WA so just keep the SWIS separate! We have little opportunities for PHES (Blakers)…

            It depends on what you define as “little opportunities.” I’d suggest Blakers & team would beg to differ with compelling data (dated 21 Sep 2017):

            NSW/ACT: 8,600 potential sites; up to 29,000 GWh capacity; 300+ m head
            VIC: _ _ _ _4,400 potential sites; up to 11,000 GWh capacity; 300+ m head
            TAS: _ _ _ 2,050 potential sites; up to _ 6,000 GWh capacity; 300+ m head
            QLD: _ _ _ 1,770 potential sites; up to _ 7,000 GWh capacity; 300+ m head
            SA: _ _ _ _ _ 195 potential sites; up to _ _ 500 GWh capacity; 300+ m head
            WA: _ _ _ _3,800 potential sites; up to _ 9,000 GWh capacity; 200+ m head
            NT: _ _ _ _ 1,500 potential sites; up to _ 5,000 GWh capacity; 200+ m head
            TOTAL: _ 22,000 potential sites; up to 67,000 GWh capacity

            The sites identified so far have a combined energy storage potential of around 67,000 GWh. To put this into perspective, to transition to a 100 per cent renewable electricity system 450 GWh of PHES storage would be needed. The potential PHES resource is almost 150 times more than required. Developers can afford to be choosy since only about 20 sites (the best 0.1% of sites) would be required to support a 100% renewable electricity grid.

            https://arena.gov.au/assets/2018/10/ANU-STORES-An-Atlas-of-Pumped-Hydro-Energy-Storage-The-Complete-Atlas.pdf

            Technology (eg SMR) may change the whole landscape in a decade.

            Dave, IMO you’re dreaming!
            https://reneweconomy.com.au/coalition-nuclear-power-bill-dead-on-arrival-but-somehow-the-debate-lives-on/

  4. Geoff Miell says

    Dave,
    1st to 5th July 2010 was a very bad period for little wind and solar.

    The data indicates there are very few occasions when both wind and solar generation are at lower (but certainly not zero) energy outputs, and sufficient energy storage capacity is required to meet demand.

    Thanks for the link to the letter to Environmental Research Communications by Andy Boston, Geoffrey D Bongers & Nathan Bongers.

    Then there’s the Aug 2017 research paper published in Energy titled 100% renewable electricity in Australia by Andrew Blakers, Bin Lu & Matthew Stocks. The paper includes the statement:

    We have modelled several scenarios and for each find many solutions with similar LCOE that cover demand for every hour of the years 2006–10. In general, there is a wide variety of combinations of PV, wind, PHES and HVDC/HVAC capacity and location that yields similar LCOE. Fig. 5 illustrates typical 3 day periods of supply and demand.

    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.energy.2017.05.168

    Who do you believe – Boston et. al. OR Blakers et. al.?

    Boston was a co-author of a 2018 paper published in Energy & Environmental Science titled Carbon capture and storage (CCS): the way forward.
    https://doi.org/10.1039/C7EE02342A

    CCS efforts to date are primarily in service to big oil. Nearly 3/4 of CO₂ captured annually is reinjected into oil fields to force more oil & gas out of the ground.
    https://ieefa.org/articles/carbon-capture-decarbonisation-pipe-dream

    What I do know is that if humanity cannot rapidly reduce human-induced GHG emissions AND drawdown atmospheric CO₂ concentrations safely well below 350 ppm ASAP, then IMO humanity’s future looks very bleak indeed.
    https://www.solarquotes.com.au/blog/solar-is-cool/#comment-1502570

    I hope there are a lot of clever people in the NEM working it this out..

    Hope is not enough. Timely, effective action is essential.

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