More mega batteries to support renewables, stabilise Qld network

After a fire at the Callide coal-fired power station tested the electricity network, Energy Minister Mick de Brenni has announced a “big battery blitz”.

May 27, 2021, updated May 27, 2021
An artist's impression of the Wandoan South battery energy storage system. (Supplied)

An artist's impression of the Wandoan South battery energy storage system. (Supplied)

The Callide incident knocked other generators offline, requiring pumped hydro generation at Wivenhoe Dam to keep Queensland from forced load shedding and prolonged blackouts.

The shift to renewable power had already challenged network operators and prompted the Palaszczuk Government to commit to five grid-scale batteries in Townsville, Toowoomba, Hervey Bay, Bundaberg, and Yeppoon.

Today, de Brenni announced the largest battery in Queensland, and the first to connect directly to the grid, would be completed within months.

The Powerlink project will have the capacity to power up to 57,000 homes every year and store 150MWh of energy.

“The $120 million Wandoan project, in the heart of cattle country, will be the first large-scale battery connected to our network, supporting 23 construction jobs,” de Brenni told parliament.

“A kilometre of underground transmission cable is being installed to safely transfer stored battery power back into the grid.”

Government-owned generator Stanwell also has plans for a 150MW battery at Tarong power station.

While an investigation into the cause of the Callide fire is ongoing, de Brenni said the blackouts would have been worse if not for “the investments the Palaszczuk Government has made to diversify our fleet”.

Output from Callide will be reduced for months but de Brenni told parliament the national network regulator had described Queensland’s response as “exemplary,” not only in restoring power but saving lives.

“It is a miracle that there weren’t fatalities there on Tuesday,” de Brenni said.

The government has vowed to avoid load-shedding.


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