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The NSW Department of Planning and Environment approved Greenspot’s proposal to build a 500MW/1,000MWh Battery Energy Storage System. This will be located on the former Wallerawang Power Station near Lithgow. The approval of the development permit for the $400M project is a significant step in NSW’s energy future. It positions the project at a strategic location as one of the most advanced in the State.
Two 500MW generators were housed in the Wallerawang former thermal coal power plant before its retirement in 2014. With a dispatch capacity of 500MW, the Wallerawang 9 Battery can play an important role in dealing with the reliability issues of renewables like wind and solar, and stabilizing the electricity grid.
Greenspot CEO Brett Hawkins stated that the Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone will be able to generate 3 gigawatts of solar and wind generation by mid-2020s. We have obtained approval for a large energy storage project at Wallerawang, which could help make that a reality. We plan to work with top energy market players in order to get through the construction, financing, and grid connection phases. Then we will be ready to go to the National Electricity Market.
The NSW Government approved the project as part of its Priority Assessment Program. This program accelerates the review and approval of State Significant Development Projects (SSDPs) that are expected create economic activity or provide substantial public benefits.
After decades of operation, the BESS will now be called ‘Wallerawang 9,’ following the retirement of the power station’s generating unit 1 through 8. It preserves the rich history of the region and honors the important role Lithgow played in meeting the nation’s energy needs. This is the first project approved under Greenspot’s plans for the transformation of the site, which covers 620 hectares, into a multi-use precinct that includes an area for employment and a variety of industries.
The battery will be connected to the nearby 330kV Wallerawang Substation. This substation was used to facilitate the transmission of coal-fired power generation before the power station closed. This site’s “core enabler” for industry is its proximity to high-voltage transmission networks. Access to the site’s major rail and road transport infrastructures, extensive existing and planned water infrastructures, and close proximity to high-integrity information networks are some other advantages. These enablers make Wallerawang highly competitive in attracting business investment to help propel the local economy forward.
“The greater Lithgow area has been contributing to the power generation of NSW for almost 70 years.” Hawkins said that the Wallerawang 9 Battery is an indicator of the region’s potential future contribution. Hawkins stated that while we are moving towards a net zero future and adopting new energy technologies, it is crucial that strategies are put in place to attract new businesses to the region. It will be crucial to ensure that there are still intergenerational opportunities here in Lithgow through targeted collaboration between the public and private sectors as well as community groups.