CEP.Energy will build a grid-scale battery with capacity up to 1200 megawatts (MW) within the Hunter Economic Zone (HEZ) precinct at Kurri Kurri in New South Wales, under a new 30-year lease agreement with the Hunter Investment Corporation.
The battery will be the largest asset in CEP’s planned network of four grid-scale batteries across the country, with total capacity up to 2000MW. It is also the largest proposed grid-scale battery in the world today, with potential capacity up to eight times that of the grid-scale battery operating in Hornsdale, South Australia.
CEO of CEP.Energy, Peter Wright, said the business is on track to become the largest battery storage asset owner in the Australian energy market.
“CEP’s grid-scale battery network is part of our dual-track strategy to generate and store clean, reliable and cost-effective electricity for Australian businesses, and make excess power available to the national grid to firm up the increase in renewable generation,” Mr Wright said.
“To achieve this, we have secured strategic locations with excellent access to existing network connection infrastructure. We have also assembled a senior management team with outstanding credentials in national energy system design and management.”
Mr Wright detailed that the HEZ site is zoned for heavy industrial use, pre-approved for power generation and located adjacent to existing sub-stations.
“It is among the best handful of sites in Australia for reliable and efficient grid connection,” he said.
The Hunter battery is proposed to be developed in stages and an expression of interest process to select a battery provider will soon be issued.
Construction of CEP’s New South Wales big battery is planned to start in the first quarter of 2022, while the target timeframe for commencement of operations is 2023.
Chairman of CEP.Energy, Morris Iemma, said integrated grid-scale battery networks are accelerating Australia’s transition to a clean energy future.
“Big batteries, including the one planned by CEP.Energy for the Hunter, will play a major role in filling the gaps left by the gradual retirement of coal and gas-fired generation assets, including the nearby Liddell Power Station,” Mr Iemma said.
“The clean energy roadmap laid out by the NSW Government has provided the market with the confidence to invest in renewable generation supported by large battery storage.”
“This project will help ensure the Hunter region of NSW remains true to its heritage as one of the nation’s energy powerhouses as we work towards a cleaner, decarbonised future,” he commented.
The Energy Security Board Post 2025 Market Design Directions Paper, released in January 2021, states that over the next two decades 26-50 gigawatts (GW) of new, large scale variable renewable energy (VRE) – in addition to existing, committed and anticipated projects – is forecast to come online. This will be supported by between 6 GW and 19 GW of new flexible and dispatchable resources as approximately 16 GW of thermal generation retires.
CEP.Energy’s Chief Strategy Advisor, Mark Stedwell, who was previously GM Real Time Operations and Systems Capability at the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) said reliable battery storage will provide contingency supply to enable greater levels of variable renewable generation to penetrate the Australian energy market moving forward.
“There is clearly scope for more big battery projects that stack up in terms of location and a sustainable business model,” Mr Stedwell said.
Dual-track strategy: VPP and Big Battery Network
CEP’s grid-scale battery network will be progressed concurrently with its development of an aggregated Virtual Power Plant (VPP) comprised of 1500MW of industrial rooftop solar generation supported by up to 400MW of battery storage over the next five years.
The rooftop VPP strategy is aimed at stimulating new jobs and economic activity in major manufacturing and commercial hubs in Australia by reducing operating costs for energy-intensive businesses.
CEP’s secured property portfolio comprises several hundred properties and more than 10 million square metres of rooftop, including the Pelligra Group’s significant property portfolio.
In October 2020, CEP signed a deal with SmartestEnergy Australia – a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate Marubeni – to manage and operate the aggregated VPP.
Scoping and installation work on the first tranche of 70 industrial and commercial properties recently commenced, including Australia’s largest private shopping centre – the Narellan Town Centre – owned jointly by the Perich and Vitocco families.
About the Hunter Economic Zone (HEZ)
Based in Kurri Kurri, the HEZ is Australia’s largest contiguous master-planned estate, covering an area of 3,200 hectares, comprised of 900 hectares of zoned developable land surrounded by 2,300 hectares of National Park. The HEZ is partnering with CEP.Energy to host Australia’s largest grid-scale battery and to install rooftop solar panels on all proposed developments within HEZ, which will provide its tenants with clean, lower-cost energy. The partnership will enhance the sustainable footprint of HEZ by building on its existing affiliations with the International World Building Institute, the Green Building Institute of Australia, and intelligent real estate system operator Delos.