Thursday, 20 December 2018 00:44

Cape York Battery Power Plant cleared for construction

Cape York Battery Power Plant cleared for construction Image courtesy of Ben Schonewille at

Construction of the first large dispatchable solar generator in Australia’s national electricity market will start in early 2019 after it secured its generator performance standard this week.

The Cape York Battery Power Plant has now cleared its key hurdle and is one of the first renewable generation projects to pass the more onerous grid connection requirements implemented in 2018.

Lyon Group chair David Green said Lyon and Japanese energy company JERA were working together to bring flexible, controllable zero-emissions energy to Asian power grids, including Australia’s.

JERA is one of the world’s largest energy companies. Its expanding generation portfolio is currently 74GW, 1½ times Australia’s national electricity market.

The world’s biggest gas buyer and one of the world’s largest coal traders, JERA’s procurement of LNG from Australia totalled more than six million tonnes in FY2017, and JERA is an equal joint venture of two major Japanese electricity companies, TEPCO Fuel & Power and Chubu Electric Power Company.

“The Cape York Battery Power Plant will be the first fully integrated grid-connected large dispatchable solar peaker in Australia if not the world,” said Green. 

“It is a $150 million commitment to new peaking generation and a stronger grid in north Queensland.

“The 20MW/80MWh Fluence battery-based energy storage system plus 55MWac solar generation will dispatch firm clean energy through a single connection point, using a single power plant controller.”

According to Green, only a truly integrated large battery storage and solar plant can deliver dispatchable solar energy, avoiding grid destabilising voltage and frequency fluctuations, and transitory impacts, by stabilising the power output – and this can only occur when a single power plant controller manages the project and power is dispatched through a single connection point.

“Although it’s good to see other products coming into the market to help tidy up the issues created by intermittent solar and wind, prevention is better than a cure," said Green.

“A shift to dispatchable renewables is key to achieving high penetration of zero-emissions generation, by enhancing grid stability and placing downward pressure on the generation and network costs driving Australians’ power bills.

“Projects like this can reduce grid costs by lifting transmission utilisation, so that network augmentation can be deferred, reduced or in some cases avoided.

“The configuration of the Cape York Battery Power Plant has been called many things – solar storage, solar peakers, battery power plants or Solar 2.0 – what it means is that, when truly integrated with battery storage, solar can deliver dispatchable clean energy.

“Weather-dependent renewable energy still has a future in Australia, but dispatchable renewables are far more valuable, and regulatory reforms will lift revenues for high-speed, flexible services.”

Cape York Battery Power Plant will also include Australia’s first four-hour duration battery system, making it the country’s first solar peaker.

“Solar peakers will quickly take the place of gas peakers because their speed of dispatch, lower and more predictable operating costs and by extension lower risk offers unparalleled flexibility,” Green said.

“Solar peakers and other four-hour duration battery storage will service a big proportion of Australia’s daily peak demand period."

“JERA’s global generation fleet is mostly fossil fuel powered at present, but the company believes that Australia and most other countries will rapidly move beyond 50 percent renewable energy,” said Satoshi Yajima, senior vice-president of Power Generation Business, JERA.

“A very large volume of utility-scale battery storage will be required to achieve and move beyond 50% renewable energy.

“The Cape York Battery Power Plant is a small power plant within JERA’s portfolio, but we see this project as lighting the way to expand our renewables portfolio.

“JERA is delighted with progress on development of the Cape York, Riverland and Nowingi Battery Power Plants, and is looking forward to the Cape York project commencing construction early in the new year.”


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).



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