AGL has commenced construction of a 50 MW / 100 MWh Large-Scale Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) facility with advanced grid-forming inverters at 74 – 76 Pinnacles Place, Broken Hill. The Project will support the reliable supply of electricity to Broken Hill in the event of line failure and provide efficient grid support for the region. The Project will also provide storage and firming capacity to the National Energy Market (NEM) as well as additional services to assist grid stability.
The key features for the approved Project include:
- Construction and operation of a BESS of a nominal capacity of approximately 50 MW and up to 100 MWh;
- Connection of the BESS to the nearby Transgrid Broken Hill substation via a 22 kV overhead powerline connecting through a 22 kV busbar at the substation.
The electricity sector is in the process of significant change. As the market moves away from coal, emerging technologies such as battery storage are increasingly needed to facilitate the transition to renewable energy generation by allowing electricity to be dispatched to the grid as needed. Over the past decade, there has been a progressive increase in installed renewable generators within the NEM. Renewable generation (in particular wind and solar) is intermittent in nature, generating electricity only when wind and solar resources are available. The need for storage capacity is expected to increase in the next 20 years, in line with the progressive retirement of thermal generators from the NEM. The approved Project will provide storage and firming capacity to the NEM, as well as additional services to assist grid stability including frequency control ancillary services.
The project will demonstrate the ability of large-scale batteries to be equipped with grid forming inverters to improve system strength and facilitate higher penetrations of variable renewable energy generation at the lowest cost.
Broken Hill has been selected as a highly suitable location for testing grid-forming capabilities due to its location at the fringe of the grid, which results in low system strength.
Advanced inverters enable grid batteries to provide system stability services traditionally provided by synchronous generation, such as coal or gas. Finding new ways of providing stability to the electricity system will enable the grid to operate with higher shares of variable renewable energy. Grid-forming inverters offer a promising solution to improve system strength, but have not been previously demonstrated at utility scale in weak parts of the grid.
The BESS is located at 74-76 Pinnacles Place, Broken Hill, approximately 6 km south east of the Broken Hill airport.
AGL was scheduled to commence construction on the BESS in June 2022. A number of factors, including COVID-19 related supply chain issues, delayed commencement of construction until October 2022. Now that construction is underway, there may be some increased traffic on roads surrounding the project site, as locally sourced construction workers travel to work or as deliveries of materials increase from January 2023. AGL and our contractors will manage these changes through the approved Traffic Management Plans for the project and will work closely with Broken Hill City Council for any changes that may have an impact on local roads, such as where traffic controllers may be required.
AGL recently sought approval from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment to extend the approved working hours for the duration of the project. DPE granted this approval following an extensive community consultation process, on 28th February 2023. The changed working hours are shown in the table below.
|Day||New construction work hours|
|Monday - Friday||7am - 6pm|
|Saturday||7am - 6pm|
|Sunday||8am - 1pm|
|NSW public holiday||8am - 1pm|
To minimise the impact on the community, we will avoid the following activities on Saturday after 1pm, Sundays and NSW public holidays:
- delivery of materials that may disrupt local roads
- noisy activities, such as pile driving, jack hammering, and the use of air compressors.
Noise reducing strategies and noise monitoring (weekly and during peak workloads) will be undertaken to ensure noise levels do not exceed the permitted noise levels.
The extended working hours would be used to carry out activities such as laying cables, cable terminations and testing, equipment fit out, and preparation for concrete works.
If the NSW Department of Planning and Environment approve the extended working hours, they would be in place until the BESS project has been fully constructed.
Planning and Environmental Approvals
AGL submitted the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for this Project to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) in May 2021. The EIS was assessed by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and Development Consent was granted in September 2021.
To view the EIS, please visit the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s Major Projects’ portal.
An EPBC referral was submitted for the Project in January 2021. The EPBC referral was determined on 7 May 2021, which confirmed that the Project did not constitute a controlled action (EPBC 2021/8918).
AGL believe Australia’s future energy needs will be delivered through a combination of technologies - gas, hydrogen, pumped-hydro, renewables, firming technologies and industrial developments - all of which will play a role in the energy transition.
AGL has a proud history in Broken Hill, having developed one of Australia’s largest utility-scale solar plants in 2016 and the Silverton Wind Farm in 2018 with a combined capacity of over 250 MW, together powering around 158,000 average Australian homes.