Australia’s biggest battery build raises $500m

Brandon How

Australia’s largest battery storage development in New South Wales has secured a $500 million investment following a capital raise led by the world’s biggest funds manager, BlackRock.

The capital raise for the Waratah Super Battery project, located on the former Munmorah Power Station site in Colongra, includes a $100 million investment from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

It is expected to “stimulate up to $1 billion in private investment into new energy storage and associated network augmentations”, according to EnergyCo NSW.

The project is being developed by Melbourne-based battery firm Akaysha Energy, which was contracted by state-owned EnergyCo NSW in October 2022. Akaysha Energy was acquired by BlackRock in August 2022 for more than $1 billion.

Construction began at the end of May and is expected to be complete before August 2025.

The battery will have a 850MW/1680MWh capacity and will provide a System Integrity Protection Scheme (SIPS) service, acting as a ‘shock absorber’ to diminish the load on the grid during power surges.

Graphic of the Waratah Super Battery Project. Image: EnergyCo NSW

Through the SIPS service, the battery is expected to provide a “guaranteed continuous active power capacity of at least 700 MW and a guaranteed useable energy storage capacity of at least 1400 MWh”, according to EnergyCo NSW.

Control and communications systems for the SIPS service will be developed and operated by grid operator Transgrid.

The project aims to provide grid stability with the coal-fried Eraring Power Station is anticipated to be closed by 2025. It is part of the broader Sydney Ring Project, which aims to secure energy supply to Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong.

It was also announced on Thursday that the Capacity Investment Scheme is also being rolled out in NSW. Under the scheme, the Commonwealth will underwrite renewable generation projects and storage projects successfully awarded through competitive state government tenders.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said that the funding commitment was crucial for grid stability and would build on the federal government’s ongoing commitment to funding energy storage projects.

“The Albanese Government is already investing heavily through the CEFC on big battery projects in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and the ACT, as well as our $20 billion investment in Rewiring the Nation to upgrade and expand the grid to support Australia’s transformation to renewable energy,” he said.

“Together we are working with states and other stakeholders across the board to deliver the electricity system strength needed to power Australia with cleaner, cheaper energy.”

New South Wales’ minister for Climate Change and for Energy Penny Sharpe said the project is world-leading.

“Innovative projects like this one are critical to supporting our state’s transition to net zero as soon as possible” Ms Sharpe said.

“The Waratah Super Battery is an excellent example of how our State can deliver clean, efficient and innovative infrastructure that benefits homes and businesses across NSW.”

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

Leave a Comment

Related stories