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Chinchilla Big Battery To Deliver Cleaner, Cheaper and More Reliable Energy

The Queensland government announced today that CS Energy, a publicly-owned generator, will be installing a grid-scale battery near Chinchilla to deliver cleaner, cheaper and more reliable energy to Queenslanders. Tesla Megapacks will be used to make up the 100-megawatt/200-megawatt hour battery, which will form part of CS Energy’s energy hub at Kogan Creek.

Tesla Megapacks. Image Source: Tesla

Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick said the $150 million project was expected to create up to 80 jobs during construction and up to ten jobs when operational.

“Queensland has the natural resources of wind, sun and water to be a renewable energy superpower,” the Treasurer said.

“As we work towards our target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030, we can also support more jobs in new industries right across regional Queensland.

“These Tesla Megapacks are expected to be in place and operating by the end of next year.”

Big Batteries Supporting Queensland’s Renewable Transition

Grid-scale batteries such as the one announced are an important part of Australia’s transition to a renewable energy grid, facilitating the uptake of renewables by smoothing out fluctuations in supply and demand. They also enable the continued uptake of distributed energy resources, such as rooftop solar panels, by households and businesses.

An alternative, as we’ve recently seen play out in some states including Western Australia and South Australia, is the practice of curtailment, where an electricity generating system stops exporting to the grid or even temporarily shuts down, effectively wasting energy that could have been used.

Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen Mick de Brenni said despite the Morrison Government budget delivering “little for Queensland”, the state was stepping in to fund new grid-scale batteries because the Palaszczuk Government believes in a sustainable future for Queensland’s publicly owned energy companies.

“This battery represents further diversification of energy and modernisation of Queensland publicly owned power companies,” Mr de Brenni said.

“Queenslanders want clean energy, but they also want reliable energy, so the inclusion of batteries into the CS Energy portfolio will support further expansion of their variable (renewable) energy assets alongside existing traditional generation.

“The Palaszczuk Government is moving quickly to invest in storage solutions that enable the continued uptake of renewables, especially rooftop solar, so more Queenslanders can enjoy the savings.”

CS Energy Creating “More Flexible and Diverisifed” Portfolio

Responding to the rapidly changing National Energy Market, CS Energy is looking to expand its renewable energy assets. The company’s CEO, Andrew Bills, said that large-scale batteries are an important step in creating a more flexible and diversified energy portfolio.

“Adding firm, fast start generation assets to CS Energy’s portfolio will enable us to more effectively respond to the changing demand and shape of the National Electricity Market.”

Mr Bills said the new Chinchilla battery would be built next to Kogan Creek Power Station, providing its employees with exposure to new assets, training and skills as Australia’s energy sector transforms.

“This project is about utilising the Kogan Creek site’s existing attributes of grid connection, water, land and workforce to create new opportunities,” Mr Bills said.

The Chinchilla Battery will have a relatively small footprint (100m x 150m) and be connected to the grid via Powerlink’s 275 kV Western Downs substation.

Construction is expected to begin later this year after all relevant development approvals have been finalised. The battery is expected to be operational in late 2023.

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