AGL has taken the first step towards the construction of its new $41 million grid-scale battery-based energy storage system (BESS) at Broken Hill.

The 50-megawatt (MW), 50-megawatt hour (MWh) lithium-ion battery will be operational in mid-2023, providing the Broken Hill community with greater energy stability.

In partnership with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the Broken Hill battery includes inverter technology, capable of providing system strength services in weak parts of the grid, as well as adding to the stability of the wider electricity network.

Speaking at an official sod turning ceremony in Broken Hill, AGL General Manager Energy Hubs, Travis Hughes said construction of the Broken Hill battery is important progress towards AGL achieving its 5GW target of wind, battery, pumped hydro and other low carbon firming projects by 2030.

“The new Broken Hill battery is another exciting step for AGL, with the battery playing a crucial role in supporting renewable energy supply and ensuring communities in western New South Wales have access to reliable energy,” Mr Hughes said.

“AGL has been part of the Broken Hill community since 2015 through the Silverton Wind Farm and Broken Hill Solar Plant and we are proud to continue to deliver renewable power to households and businesses in the area.”

ARENA CEO Darren Miller praised the commencement of construction of the battery and the benefits it will bring to the grid.

“As Australia’s electricity system switches to higher rates of renewables it will be increasingly important to deliver storage solutions that have the capabilities to stabilise the grid,” Mr Miller said.

“AGL’s Broken Hill Battery allows us to test advanced inverter technology in some of the most challenging conditions for the grid, while also improving system security and stability in the region.”

To be constructed by global energy storage technology provider Fluence and its consortium partner Valmec, the battery is the latest-generation technology and represents AGL’s dedication to investing in battery-based energy storage in Australia.

Fluence General Manager of Australia and Vice President Growth APAC Achal Sondhi was in Broken Hill for the sod turning ceremony and said the Broken Hill battery is a pioneering project for Fluence, AGL, ARENA and the whole industry. “We are excited to bring our latest product, proven technology and more than 14 years of global deployment experience to support the energy transition in Australia.”

The project is expected to provide up to 50 jobs for engineers, tradespeople and other contractors during construction.