Neoen, one of the world’s leading producers of exclusively renewable energy, has announced the expansion of its Western Downs Battery, which will have a total installed capacity of 270 MW / 540 MWh.
The extension will be delivered by Tesla and construction contractor UGL (a member of the CIMIC Group) who commenced construction of the initial stage of the project in January 2023. The project is located on Barunggam country near the town of Chinchilla in South West Queensland. With its greater capacity, the battery intends to play an even more central role in Queensland’s rapidly accelerating energy transition which is resulting in a growing need for storage and related network services.
Western Downs Battery, consisting of Tesla Megapack 2XL units, leverages the existing infrastructure of Neoen’s Western Downs Green Power Hub. The Hub includes Australia’s largest solar farm at 460 MWp capacity, which has recently been commissioned. Queensland’s transmission network operator Powerlink will be delivering the project’s connection works and a dedicated high-voltage line into the Western Downs substation. The battery is expected to start operating in the Australian summer of 2024/25.
Western Downs Battery will be capable of performing a range of network services to the Queensland grid, including firming renewables, providing frequency services and transmission network support. With support from ARENA’s Large Scale Battery Storage Funding Round, the battery will ultimately be equipped with grid-forming inverter technology allowing it to provide essential system stability services.
The expansion of Western Downs Battery, initially planned at 200 MW / 400 MWh, cements Neoen’s position as Australia’s leading owner and operator of big batteries. The company already owns and operates the 300 MW / 450 MWh Victorian Big Battery in Geelong, as well as the 150 MW / 193.5 MWh Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia. It has a further three batteries under construction including the 4-hour duration 219 MW / 877 MWh Collie Battery in Western Australia.
Louis de Sambucy, Neoen Australia’s CEO, said: “We are delighted to be expanding the Western Downs Battery, demonstrating our willingness to play an increasingly central role in Queensland’s rapid decarbonisation. We would like to thank Tesla, UGL and Powerlink for their hard work and ongoing commitment to delivering this project. We are thrilled to have big batteries operating or under construction in 5 Australian states and territories.”
Paul Simshauser, Powerlink Queensland’s CEO commented: “Batteries will continue to play a critical role in the changing generation mix as we work towards a low emissions future. Increasing the capacity of Neoen’s Western Downs Battery to store Queensland’s valuable wind and solar resources will help keep the grid in a secure operating state and offer greater stability to Queenslanders.”
Xavier Barbaro, Neoen’s Chairman and CEO concluded: “I would like to thank the Neoen Australia team for building Queensland’s most powerful battery. It illustrates once more our commitment to accelerating investment in battery storage, with durations that are capable of delivering a wider range of services and solutions. A leading player in storage, with deep expertise built across many years, Neoen is unlocking the full potential of renewables. We are proud to be making an increasingly valuable contribution to a clean energy future for Australia and the rest of the world.”