AGL to start building grid-scale battery on site of former Liddell coal-fired power plant | Energy

A 500-megawatt bank of energy storage on the site of the defunct Liddell coal-fired power plant has been given the green light.

AGL Energy on Tuesday announced it has reached a final investment decision on the two-hour duration, grid-scale battery in the Hunter region of New South Wales after closing the power station in 2023.

The total construction cost is about $750m and will be funded from the company’s balance sheet.

As the largest electricity generator in a system that has traditionally relied on coal, AGL is also the country’s largest greenhouse gas emitter but plans to close its final coal-fired plant by 2035.

AGL boss Damien Nicks said the Liddell battery will be a key component of achieving an interim target of having about five gigawatts of new renewable energy and firming capacity in place by 2030.

“The final investment decision on the Liddell battery project marks another significant milestone in AGL’s decarbonisation pathway and the transition of its energy portfolio,” he said.

Scheduled for completion in 2026, the Liddell battery will add to AGL’s fleet of battery assets which includes the 250MW Torrens Island battery in South Australia and the 50MW Broken Hill battery that will soon come online.

For NSW, the big battery will help to keep the lights on and meet the state government’s emissions reduction target of 70% by 2035 as coal-fired power stations retire.

The project will be supported by a $35m grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena) and a long-term energy service agreement with the NSW government.

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Construction will begin in early 2024, with global energy storage and renewables firm Fluence selected as the preferred engineering, procurement and construction provider.

Liddell was Australia’s oldest coal-fired power station and once powered the equivalent of more than one million homes

More than 90% of the materials in the plant are expected to be recycled during demolition, including 70,000 tonnes of steel – more than the total weight of steel works for the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Demolition will begin in 2024 and take about two years.

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