The final tick has been given for a big battery project at Lake Macquarie’s Eraring Power Station just in time for construction to begin on the renewable re-development.
Origin Energy confirmed today that it had taken a final investment decision on the first stage of its large-scale battery, committing to a spend of approximately $600 million.
Agreements have also been executed for the supply and construction of the battery, with works to commence within weeks.
Stage one involves construction of a 460 MW battery storage system with a dispatch duration of two hours, anticipated to come online in the final quarter of the 2025 calendar year. Origin has the option to increase that to 700 MW and four hours dispatch duration in the future.
The energy giant’s CEO, Frank Calabria said the approval of the Eraring battery is an important milestone.
“[It is] another significant step in our strategy to lead the energy transition and accelerate renewable energy and storage in our portfolio,” Mr Calabria said.
“We are pleased to make this significant capital investment in Origin’s first major battery project to support the growth in renewable energy that’s occurring across the National Energy Market, together with the expansion of our own portfolio of renewable energy developments.”
Eraring is the country’s largest power station, supplying around a quarter of NSW’s energy needs.
Head of energy supply and operations, Greg Jarvis said Eraring would continue to play an important role in keeping the lights on.
“Eraring is a strategic site with high quality connection infrastructure enabling us to deliver energy into major demand centres. Development of the Eraring battery is a key next step as we look to transform the Eraring site for the future, given our intention to exit coal-fired generation by as early as August 2025,” Mr Jarvis said.
“We are grateful for the strong support Origin has received from the local community and other stakeholders, and we look forward to working with our key contractors to deliver the Eraring battery safely and expeditiously, consistent with the conditions of approval granted by the NSW Government.”
The Eraring battery project received initial planning approval from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment in May 2022.
Battery equipment will be supplied by Finnish technology group Wärtsilä, which operates globally, while design and construction services will be provided by Enerven, a subsidiary of SA Power Networks.
In February last year, Origin submitted notice to the Australian Energy Market Operator indicating the potential early closure of Eraring’s four coal-fired units, sparking concern about a lack of supply to the state’s energy grid.
The company says it will continue to assess the market over time, and that this will help inform the final timing for the facility’s shutdown.