Australia: Victoria’s Loy Yang A power station to have 200MW battery operational by 2023, owner AGL says

The Loy Yang A power station in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley will be home to a new 200 megawatt (MW) battery that can provide electricity to the grid during times of peak demand, its owner has said.

Key points:
• AGL will build the 200 megawatt battery at the Loy Yang A power station
• Construction will begin mid to late next year and be completed by 2023
• It’s the second large-scale battery to be announced in Victoria this month
• Energy giant AGL plans to start construction mid to late next year and have the battery operational in 2023.

It will form part of an 850MW battery system the company is developing across four sites, including a 250MW battery at the Torrens Island power station in South Australia. AGL general manager major projects Lucy Martin said batteries were an important part of Australia’s shift towards renewable power. “With solar and with wind, when the wind’s not blowing or the sun’s not shining, like on a day like today, then we need to have that capacity to be able to buffer the supply,” Ms Martin said.
She said the battery would also support the grid during times of peak demand during summer or when Loy Yang A capacity was reduced during maintenance.

“This is really good for the customer because what it does is provide stability, which means that you avoid the peak pricing,” Ms Martin said.

Battery welcomed
The Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the announcement was a major win for the Latrobe Valley, home to the state’s coal-fired power stations. Earlier this month, the Government announced it would build a 300MW battery at Moorabool near Geelong which should be operational by November 2021. “This announcement comes just weeks after we announced that Victoria is building the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest battery [at Moorabool],” Ms D’Ambrosio said. “Big batteries will play a major role in preparing for the energy grid of the future and support renewable energy.”

Victoria has a Renewable Energy Target of sourcing 50 per cent of its power from renewables by 2030. Environment Victoria (EV) said the announcement showed in the future electricity would come from wind and solar and be supported by batteries. “We might have other forms of renewables in that mix, we might have other forms of storage in that mix, like say, some pumped hydro,” EV campaigns manager Nick Aberle said. “But that is clearly where the world is moving, and Victoria and Australia are no exception.”

‘Number of construction jobs’
AGL said it was still determining how many jobs the battery would create in the Latrobe Valley, but that most of the positions would come during construction rather than the operational stage of the project. But Australian Manufacturing Workers Union Gippsland organiser Steve Dodd said the region needed the jobs. “[There’s] going to be a number of construction jobs, first up, and then there’ll be some operational and maintenance jobs,” Mr Dodd said. “After the shutdown of Hazelwood [power station in 2017], we saw a lot of jobs lost in the region, [but] we think that we need to keep moving forward and if this is part of the plan for energy in the future, we support it.”