3 minute read

Evolving and expanding: Big battery performing well

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AGL Energy
11 April 2019
evolving-article-110419

As we transition towards an energy mix, one question pervades: what do we do when the sun’s not shining and the wind’s not blowing?

Flexible and firming energy sources (like quick-start gas generation and large-scale battery storage - like the ESCRI), that can supply energy during peak periods or whenever renewables aren't available, is the answer.

The 30-megawatt, grid-connected battery is just one of the ways we’re evolving and expanding our core energy market offerings.

What is the Dalrymple North Substation?


Completed in December last year, the grid-connected battery takes a multifaceted approach to improving energy stability in the region. The substation took 30,000 hours to construct and features more than 28 kilometres of cabling.


The project was a joint initiative of AGL, Advisian (Worley Parsons) and Electranet and was funded in part by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).

The battery energy storage system is connected to ElectraNet’s Dalrymple substation.

How does it work?


While not South Australia’s largest, it was the first large-scale, grid-connected battery designed, built and operated in Australia.

It offers a fast response when something goes wrong – such as when generators or transmission lines fail. It also improves energy reliability by acting as a micro-grid with the Wattle Point Wind Farm and rooftop solar when main grid supply is lost.

The battery can provide backup power to more than 4,000 customers for up to three hours while connection to the grid is being restored, and much longer when the wind farm is able to maintain the charge in the battery.


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Infographic source: https://arena.gov.au/blog/arenas-role-commercialising-big-batteries

Three months on, how is it tracking?


In short, very well. Like any new project, there have been opportunities to learn and adapt. But Bruce Bennet, Manager, Connection and Access, said the battery is meeting expectations.

From Project Manager, Amna Sohail’s perspective, a cleaner future is no longer a choice but a responsibility.

“When I look towards a cleaner and greener future, I see storage solutions, such as grid-scale batteries, as an efficient and effective way of large-scale decarbonisation in the energy sector,” she said.

“We need to do all we can to ensure that we hand over a more livable planet to our future generations. I am extremely happy that AGL shares this value and is contributing to building and operating South Australia’s second-largest battery.”

As part of ARENA’s involvement, a real-time dashboard tracks the project including the charge status of the battery, current windfarm output and total customer load for Lower Yorke Peninsula customers.

It shares both basic and technical information as a knowledge-sharing service. You can see the dashboard here: https://www.escri-sa.com.au/.