Electranet SA battery shows the way forward

The performance of one of Australia’s first big batteries has exceeded expectations, setting the stage for large-scale storage across the National Electricity Market (NEM). Energy Storage for Commercial Renewable Integration (ESCRI) has broken a lot of new ground.

More than two years from its commissioning, the ESCRI ElectraNet South Australian battery storage system at Dalrymple has achieved its objectives. It’s also returned the $12 million grant ARENA provided in 2017.

ESCRI is able to operate connected to the NEM and also be ‘islanded’. In islanded mode, regional demand for electricity is met entirely by renewables, with network regulation services provided by the battery.

The ESCRI system is charged by AGL’s existing 90MW Wattle Point Wind Farm. Surplus rooftop solar is a back-up in the event of any interruption to supply from the grid. The battery has reduced the amount of unserved energy to the region following losses of supply.

Making a difference

From December 2018 to 2020, the ESCRI battery was called on in 29 system events. It responded almost instantly to inject power to arrest dips in voltage or reduce the duration of an outage.

On one occasion, a catastrophic failure tripped a series of transmission lines. The battery responded immediately, assisting recovery from the voltage dip within 2.5 seconds.

Financial performance

Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS) revenue peaked in the six months from December 2019 to June 2020. The system earned $15.6 million in addition to $102,000 discharging revenue, from a $76,000 charging cost.

In the two years to December 2020, the system earned $22.6 million in FCAS revenue and $319,820 in discharging revenue, from $329,750 in charging costs.

Powering the future

ARENA has now supported the development of five battery storage systems, as well as the expansion of South Australia’s Hornsdale Power Reserve.

The size of battery systems is also growing, with the Victorian Government planning a 300 MW battery near Geelong. CEP Energy is preparing the world’s largest battery for the NSW Hunter Valley with a capacity of up to 1200 MW.

Read more about the Electranet South Australian battery and ARENA’s portfolio of large-scale battery projects.

[Source: ARENA]

Photo: Aerial view of the ESCRI plant.