Neoen lauds grid stability gains as South Australian battery extension completes

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The Hornsdale Power Reserve battery has undergone a 50% expansion. Image: Neoen.

Independent power producer Neoen has completed a 50MW expansion of its Hornsdale utility-scale battery in South Australia, an upgrade the company says will reduce the risks of blackouts.

Now with a capacity of 150MW, Hornsdale Power Reserve’s (HPR) ability to stabilise the grid and avoid price volatility is also said to have been enhanced.

The expansion was carried out through a partnership between Tesla, the South Australian Government, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and ARENA. Testing will now commence of the battery’s capacity to deliver grid-scale inertia services.

Dan van Holst Pellekaan, South Australia energy minister, said the project is “the first large demonstration in the world of how batteries can provide system strength similar to traditional power generation”. He added: “This is a cutting-edge service which will help address our historic system security challenges and allow us to adopt more renewable energy.”

Deployed by Neoen and Tesla in just 100 days, HPR is located next to large-scale wind farms and went into operation in late 2017. In the year following its deployment, the facility was “undeniably” a success, according to independent engineering and infrastructure advisory company Aurecon, noting that the project delivered AU$150 million (US$109.25 million) in savings to the market in its first two years of operation.

Aurecon found HPR responded effectively to stress events on the local network and also removed the need for network upgrades and additional capacity.

“The Hornsdale Power Reserve is a great example of the technological innovation that has developed to help us deliver cleaner, cheaper renewable energy across a stronger, more reliable grid, Ian Learmonth, CEO of CEFC, said.

“As the first project financing of a standalone large-scale battery in the Australian market, it also provides a model for other investors and developers as they consider grid-related technologies, which can be delivered in a relatively tight timeframe.”

For France-headquartered Neoen, HPR helped the company nearly treble its year-on-year energy storage-related revenues in H1 2020 to €24.6 million (US$29.15 million). This surge was the result of a tornado that damaged power interconnection lines between South Australia and Victoria, with the resulting downtime creating prime conditions for the firm's storage units.

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