Victoria to install 300MWh battery near Geelong to increase grid stability.

One of the world’s largest lithium-ion batteries will be built in Victoria as part of a state government-backed initiative to bolster the reliability of the grid and keep a lid on power prices as coal-fired generators retire.

The Victorian Big Battery, to be built north of Geelong by French renewable energy giant Neoen, would have a 300-megawatt capacity, making it three times the initial size of the Tesla big battery built by US billionaire Elon Musk in conjunction with Neoen in South Australia in 2017.

Across Australia and around the world, big batteries are emerging as key to supporting the greater uptake of renewable energy by overcoming the problem of intermittency when it is not sunny or windy. Batteries capture and store excess power created during times when conditions for renewable energy are most favourable, then release it when it’s needed during peak-usage periods such as heatwaves.

Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the new Tesla battery – which has the ability to discharge about a quarter as much power as some coal-fired power generators – would lower wholesale power prices and bills.

Neoen’s South Australian battery project is estimated to have achieved $150 million in savings in its first two years.

“The big battery will help protect our network in summer, create jobs and drive down energy prices as well as supporting our recovery from the coronavirus pandemic,” Ms D’Ambrosio said, adding that it would support 85 jobs while it was being built.

Neoen would pay for construction of the battery, its ongoing operation and maintenance, while consumers would pay for use of the battery through their power bills. Ms D’Ambrosio said this cost would be offset by the reduction in power costs.

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