$25m battery plan

KERANG is set to be the site of the country's largest integrated battery and solar farm.

The Federal and Victorian governments announced yesterday they would each provide up to $25 million in funding for the installation of two lithium-ion battery storage facilities, one in Kerang and one in Ballarat.

The Kerang facility will be co-located with the existing 60 MW Gannawarra Solar Farm project, and will provide 25MW of storage capacity and 50MWh of energy.

This means the facility will be capable of operating at full capacity for two hours or of powering 800 homes for 24-hours, and will be a part of the most sophisticated energy storage initiative in Australia, according to the Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D'Ambrosio.

It will be a part of the most sophisticated energy storage initiative in Australia, according to the Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D'Ambrosio.

"We are continuing to modernise our electricity grid, strengthen our energy security and deliver real action on climate change," she said.

Edify Energy is joint owner of the project with Wirsol Energy. Edify's head of energy markets and offtake, Andrew Stiel described Kerang as an obvious choice for the project. 

"We're building a number of solar farms around the country and were looking for opportunities to integrate a battery into one of them. With the initiative from the Victorian Government and also the Federal Government's willingness to help, it was a natural fit to do this at Gannawarra," he said.

"The network around the Kerang region of Victoria is at its capacity in terms of what it can manage and for some time has been looked at by the network planning authorities for upgrades. Integrating a battery with the solar farm will enable us to better manage the output, which will factor into network planning decisions and get the best outcome for Victorian energy users," he said.

Mr Stiel hopes that the initiative will serve as a model for future projects, and quash some concerns about the reliability of renewables. 

"We view the combination of solar and storage as a category killer for the enabling of more renewables in the energy sector. A lot of people talk about reliability in relation to renewables and when we begin to integrate storage solutions into projects such as ours, these concerns are quickly eliminated," he said.

"We're retrofitting this battery to the solar farm, which we're hoping will serve as a model for other existing renewable projects in the market, as well as integrating storage with new renewable developments. These types of projects bring confidence to all energy sector stakeholders from a technical, regulatory, and commercial and financing perspective, all of which are obstacles that need to be overcome to enable a transition to a clean energy future," he said.

Gannawarra mayor, Brian Gibson said that the decision strengthens the potential for further solar projects.

"I think it's a wonderful opportunity for our shire to continue to grow. We are leading towards being the solar capital of Victoria," he said.

"Obviously the State Government sees this as an opportunity and we have to thank Edify Energy who have put a lot of effort in," he said.

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