AGL’s proposed 500-megawatt (MW), two gigawatt-hour (GWh) grid-scale battery on the site of its Liddell power station has been granted approval by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE).

The grid-scale battery will form part of AGL’s Hunter Energy Hub that is planned for the site of Liddell power station, following its retirement in 2023.

AGL Chief Operating Officer, Markus Brokhof said the transition of Liddell power station into an integrated, low-carbon industrial energy hub would be AGL’s first rehabilitation of a thermal coal site.

“As we decarbonise, firming technology like this grid-scale battery will become the backbone of the NEM helping to support reliable supply for households and businesses,” Mr Brokhof said.

“This planning approval marks a significant milestone for the transition of the Liddell site and we look forward to working with partners to progress other developments on and around the site, including a wind farm, a solar storage system, pumped hydro, a waste-to-energy plant and our recently announced green hydrogen pilot with Fortescue Future Industries (FFI).

“All of these developments will benefit from the excellent resources and infrastructure these sites feature and create the jobs of the future across many industries, not just energy.

“This is a trend that is already happening overseas with more than 150 energy hub projects announced globally, all of them aimed at creating new business development opportunities and value creation.

“As Australia moves forward and we increase our reliance on renewable generation, batteries will be critical in providing the storage needed to maintain a consistent, reliable and affordable energy system. 

“I want to thank NSW DPE for acknowledging the important role that this battery will play in the Liddell energy hub and with approval now granted, the next step will be reaching a final investment decision before construction begins.”

The Liddell battery is part of AGL’s planned national roll-out of 850 MW of grid-scale batteries, with construction underway at Torrens Island and planning progressing at Broken Hill and Loy Yang.

Following AGL’s proposed demerger in 2022, the Liddell battery will be an asset of Accel Energy.

The first unit of Liddell will close in April 2022, with the following units to close in April 2023, contributing to system reliability over the 2022-23 summer months.