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Australia’s AGL to deploy first grid-scale battery system with Wärtsilä

Australian energy company AGL has announced that it will be deploying its first grid-scale battery energy storage system at Torrens Island in South Australia.

The $180 million (US$131 million) project for the development of a 250 MW/250 MWh energy storage system will be implemented in partnership with technology company Wärtsilä as the battery supplier.

The project will be the second biggest energy storage plant in Australia and will enable the storage of both thermal and renewable energy.

With AGL producing 20% of Australia’s total electricity, battery storage is expected to play a key role in ensuring the reliability of the grid during peak periods. Meaning electricity can be stored during times when demand is low for use during peak periods.

Energy storage will also enable the utility to expand its portfolio of renewable energy as well as address its fluctuating nature. AGL plans up to 850MW of grid-scale energy storage capacity across Australia.

Construction is planned to commence in late 2021 for operations to kickstart in 2023.

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The storage system will operate initially in grid-following mode before switching at a later date to grid-forming mode (virtual synchronous generation–VSG), making it the largest energy storage solution capable of operating in this mode, according to a statement.

Sushil Purohit, President, Wärtsilä Energy, said: “This is a landmark project. Renewable generation is growing rapidly in South Australia.”

Purohit said the energy storage will enable the increased use of renewables to provide affordable electricity to consumers. The project is expected to help Australia to speed up its transition from fossil fuel-based energy generation to low-carbon resources.

AGL Chief Operating Officer, Markus Brokhof said AGL is excited to begin these works as they develop their sites into low-carbon industrial energy hubs.

Said Brokhof: “Torrens Island has played an important role in the state’s energy generation for many decades and our plans ensure the site’s legacy continues with smart and sustainable technologies.

“We estimate up to 50 local jobs during the peak of the construction phase, in addition to the 400 employees already working at our South Australian sites.”

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