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Chinchilla battery to charge up Queensland’s renewable energy revolution

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The Queensland government has described CS Energy’s plan to build a 100MW two-hour battery energy storage system beside the existing coal-fired Kogan Creek Power Station near Chinchilla as a pivotal part of the state’s “renewable energy revolution”.

CS Energy said on Wednesday that work on the $150 million Chinchilla battery, which will feature lithium-ion energy storage technology supplied by United States-based electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla, is expected to begin later this year with the battery set to be operational by late 2023.

Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said the grid-scale battery will help facilitate the continued integration of renewables into the state’s energy system with Queensland targeting 50% renewable energy by 2030.

“This battery represents further diversification of energy and modernisation of Queensland publicly owned power companies,” he said.

“Queenslanders want clean energy, but they also want reliable energy, so the inclusion of batteries into the CS Energy portfolio will support further expansion of their variable (renewable) energy assets alongside existing traditional generation.”

CS Energy chief executive officer Andrew Bills said the battery storage project would provide the flexibility to shift energy to support the continued roll out of renewables and to provide grid stability.

“Large-scale batteries are an important next step in creating a more flexible and diversified energy portfolio for CS Energy,” he said.

“Adding firm, fast-start generation assets to CS Energy’s portfolio will enable us to more effectively respond to the changing demand and shape of the National Electricity Market (NEM).”

Bills said the Chinchilla Battery would make use of existing transmission infrastructure, connecting to the grid via Powerlink’s 275kV Western Downs substation.

“This project is about utilising the Kogan Creek site’s existing attributes of grid connection, water, land and workforce to create new opportunities,” he said.

The big battery will be built alongside the planned Kogan Renewable Hydrogen Demonstration Plant.

Image: CS Energy

The Chinchilla battery is the newest addition to the energy hub CS Energy is creating at the Kogan Creek site. The hub will also include the Kogan Renewable Hydrogen Demonstration Plant which is to feature a 600-700kW hydrogen electrolyser, a 2MW solar farm and a hydrogen fuel cell of up to 50kW.

The solar-powered hydrogen facility, which is set to produce 50 tonnes of green hydrogen annually, is expected to be operating before the end of 2023.

The battery is also expected to be operational in late 2023 with construction set to begin later this year after all relevant development approvals have been finalised.

The Chinchilla battery is the latest in a string of utility scale battery energy storage projects being developed across Queensland.

The 100MW/150MWh Wandoan South project being developed on the Western Downs by Singapore-based Vena Energy is currently progressing through the commissioning process while state-owned energy company Stanwell is developing a 150MW/300MWh battery adjacent to the 1.4GW Tarong Power Station site in the South Burnett.

Sydney-based renewable energy developer Genex Power has detailed plans to develop its 50MW/100MWh Bouldercombe Battery Project near Rockhampton on the state’s central coast while AGL Energy plans to build a 100 MW/150 MWh battery next to the 453MW Cooper’s Gap wind farm near Kingaroy.

French renewables developer Neoen is planning to build 150MW of battery storage as part of its proposed 460MW Western Downs Green Power Hub to be constructed near Chinchilla and has also submitted plans to develop a 100MW battery project in the state’s far north.

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