Australian Economy

Australia’s “largest grid forming battery” to go ahead after landing finance deal

riverina bess battery tesla megapack edify

Construction of what is being hailed as Australia’s “largest approved grid forming battery” will go ahead on Wiradjuri country in the New South Wales Riverina region, after developer Edify Energy announced the successful closure of a finance deal led by Federation Asset Management.

Edify said on Tuesday that the 150MW/300MWh (two-hour) Tesla Magapack-based Riverina Battery Energy Storage System has secured a long-term syndicated debt facility via the Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and DNB and underscored by established offtake deals.

Edify says the finance deal, which establishes Federation Asset Management as majority owner, will launch “the largest utility scale grid forming plants in the National Electricity Market, providing one of the most advanced energy storage systems in the NEM.”

For Federation Asset Management, the Riverina BESS will be the seed asset for its Sustainable Australian Real Asset fund (SARA), a pure play Australian energy transition fund managed by Federation.

Edify, meanwhile, keeps its stake in the project and will undertake the construction management and long-term asset management roles for the batteries.

The Riverina BESS was first announced in May 2021 as a 100MW/200MWh project, off the back of an electricity supply agreement between Edify, Shell and the NSW government.

At that time, Shell had signed a contract with Edify for a 60MW/120MWh component of the so-called RESS as part of its “firming” offer for the NSW electricity contract, which services hospitals, schools and buildings.

Edify says now that the fully financed project will be made up of three separate partitions: the 60MW/120MWh RESS 1; a 65MW/130MW RESS 2; and a 25MW/50MWh Darlington Point Energy Storage System (DPESS).

The three facilities will be located next to Edify’s 275MW (AC) Darlington Point solar farm, a generation asset that was said to have been a key factor in Shell’s successful bid for the $3.2 billion contract to supply renewable energy to the NSW government.

Edify says the three Tesla energy storage facilities will be equipped with grid forming inverters that will operate in “virtual synchronous generator” mode, providing system strength services to the grid in the Riverina region.

“It is exciting for Edify to be delivering another ‘first in market’ facility,” said Edify chief executive John Cole in a statement on Tuesday.

“In this instance, we’re using the combination of the dispatchable properties of batteries with a new vintage of grid forming inverter control systems to create a generator that can provide power system support services, which have traditionally been provided by thermal synchronous generators.

“It is testament to the capabilities of the Edify team that we have obtained approval from AEMO and TransGrid to operate the batteries in ‘virtual synchronous generator’ mode from the commencement of commercial operations,” Cole added.

“This facility is providing load and additional strength to the grid in an area where both add a lot of value. Edify will continue to advance to a 100% renewable future with the confidence of a stable, reliable power system.”

EnergyAstralia managing director, Mark Collette, said the new battery projects would allow more renewables to enter the system in the Riverina region.

“These technologies will become the backbone of a modern energy system that will step in and keep the lights on when demand for electricity is high, as well as allow solar energy to be used – even when the sun isn’t shining,” he said.

Edify said the construction of the project would start “in the near future” and aimed to be completed in stages during the first half of 2023.

“This best-in-class battery is to be built on the traditional land of the proud Wiradjuri people, the largest Aboriginal Nation in New South Wales,” Edify said. “[We] acknowledge the Wiradjuri people as the traditional custodians of this land and their deep understanding of how to live in harmony with the environment.”

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