250 MW battery storage system planned for Australia

By Jack Burke09 August 2021

Project called second largest grid-scale BESS project in country

Wärtsilä will supply a battery energy storage system (BESS) to AGL Energy, one of Australia’s leading integrated energy companies.

The 250 MW / 250 MWh system will be installed at the Torrens Island in South Australia. It will be AGL’s first grid-scale BESS project, and the second biggest in Australia. When installed, the system will support a broad portfolio of generating assets, both thermal and renewable, and help Australia to decarbonize and transition towards 100% renewable energy future.

AGL is an integrated essential service provider with electricity generation capacity of more than 11 000 MW, representing approximately 20% of the total generating capacity within Australia’s National Electricity Market (NEM).

The order of more than 100 MEUR is the first placed under a framework agreement signed between Wärtsilä and AGL in 2020 for the supply of energy storage projects. AGL plans up to 1 GW of grid-scale energy storage across Australia, a country with unparalleled renewable energy resources. The flexible capacity provided by Wärtsilä’s advanced BESS provides an efficient means for balancing the supply of energy from renewable sources, thereby maintaining the stability and reliability of the grid. Energy storage technology will play a key role in the Australian energy sector’s transition from conventional fossil fuels towards cleaner, renewable energy.

“This is a landmark project, and we are proud to have been selected as the ESS provider. Renewable generation is growing rapidly in South Australia, and the flexibility of our technology and the in-house experience we bring, can together be instrumental in maintaining a reliable and affordable electricity supply for South Australian consumers – both household and business – for years to come,” said Sushil Purohit, President, Wärtsilä Energy.

The Torrens Island system will be delivered by Wärtsilä on a full engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) basis, and designed to provide grid-support capabilities to AGL’s asset portfolio. It is expected to become operational in the early part of 2023.

The Wärtsilä system will operate initially in grid-following mode before switching at a later date to grid-forming mode (virtual synchronous generation--VSG), making it the largest energy storage solution capable of operating in this mode. This will enable very fast response times and will future-proof the Torrens Island facility. The complex solution is supported by Wärtsilä’s advanced GEMS Power Plant Controller and energy management software.

Wärtsilä has earlier supplied a 211 MW power plant for AGL, the Barker Inlet Power Station, also located on Torrens Island. The plant operates with 12 Wärtsilä 50DF multi-fuel engines running on natural gas. The hybrid combination of gas-fuelled combustion engines and energy storage will play an increasingly important role in Australia’s energy future.

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