Clean energy fund CEP.Energy wants to build the world’s biggest battery at Kurri Kurri in NSW, where it plans 1.2GW of storage to connect to the Hunter Economic Zone under a 30-year lease agreement with the Hunter Investment Corporation.

CEP.Energy chairman and former NSW premier Morris Iemma said the transition away from coal requires networks of integrated batteries to be connected to the grid.

“Big batteries, including the one planned by CEP.Energy for the Hunter, will play a major role in filling the gaps left by the gradual retirement of coal- and gas-fired generation assets, including the nearby Liddell Power Station,” Iemma said.

“The clean energy roadmap laid out by the NSW Government has provided the market with the confidence to invest in renewable generation supported by large battery storage.”

In its 2020 Integrated System Plan released in July last year the Australian Energy Market Operator called for 6-19GW of new dispatchable resources – including pumped hydro, batteries and gas – to provide essential firming as variable solar and wind generation replaces coal.

Mark Stedwell, CEP.Energy’s chief strategy advisor and previously general manager real time operations and systems capability at the Australian Energy Market Operator, said reliable battery storage is needed to support greater levels of variable renewable generation. 

“There is clearly scope for more big battery projects that stack up in terms of location and a sustainable business model,” Stedwell said.

The battery would bring CEP’s planned network of four grid-scale batteries across the country to 2GW.

Big and distributed

Over the next five years CEP is also working on development of a virtual power plant (VPP) comprised of 1.5GW of industrial rooftop solar generation supported by up to 400MW of battery storage.

The company has secured roofspace atop several hundred properties totalling more than 10 million square metres of rooftop, including the portfolio of the Pelligra Group. The VPP will be managed and operated by SmartestEnergy Australia, a company that has experience with large-scale storage in the UK.

Scoping and installation work on the first tranche of 70 industrial and commercial properties has already started.

Location matters

CEP.Energy CEO Peter Wright said the business is on track to become the largest battery storage asset owner in the Australian energy market.

“We have secured strategic locations with excellent access to existing network connection infrastructure,” Wright said. “The HEZ site is zoned for heavy industrial use, pre-approved for power generation and located adjacent to existing sub-stations. It is among the best handful of sites in Australia for reliable and efficient grid connection.”

The Kurri Kurri proposal will be the largest grid-scale battery in the world today, with potential capacity up to eight times that of the grid-scale battery operating in Hornsdale, South Australia.

CEP.Energy funds, builds, owns and operates renewable energy microgrids and VPPs in partnership with property portfolio groups.

The Kurri Kurri battery will be built in stages, with the first to be delivered by 2023.