Queensland’s First Community-Scale Battery Project Nears Prime Time

Tesla Powerpack battery project - Queensland

The first community-scale battery storage facility in Queensland – featuring Tesla Powerpack batteries – will soon be operational according to the Palaszczuk Government.

Originally announced in January last year, the 4MW/8MWh Tesla battery system will be installed on the northern outskirts of Townsville in Bohle Plains.

The system will be situated on the site of the future Ergon Energy Bohle Plains Substation, next to Ring Road on Kalynda Parade. It’s to be located away from the residential area at Bohle Plains, approximately 50 metres from the easement at the back of the estate on Spinifex Way. While some clearing of the site has been necessary, much of the vegetation in the area is to be preserved to maintain aesthetics and provide a natural sound buffer.

The project involves four rows of Tesla Powerpack batteries and an adjacent kiosk containing communications and electrical switching equipment. The main battery unit and kiosk have arrived in Townsville and it’s expected the energy storage system will be connected to the grid in February.

Charged By Solar Panels

The battery system will be charged using surplus energy generated during the day by the thousands of solar power systems in the Townsville area. In the evenings, the stored energy will be used to help address peak demand and the battery will also swing into action during blackouts, such as those triggered by summer storms.

“The battery will also take pressure off our substations and other power assets and will explore how such technology may allow Ergon to push back spending on some network infrastructure,” said Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper.

It’s expected the project will also reduce volatility in the wholesale electricity market by discharging the battery system’s stored energy in response to high electricity price events.

Townsville was chosen for the project due to the city’s high number of rooftop solar systems. In the Townsville City Council local government area, approximately 31.6% of dwellings have solar panels installed.

The Tesla battery system will form part of Ergon Energy’s virtual power plant (VPP), which is managed by Yurika – part of Energy Queensland. Energy Queensland is the group of electricity distribution, retail and energy services businesses fully owned by the State.

According to Acting Energy Minister Mark Ryan, 135.95 MW of electricity supply is currently connected to Ergon’s VPP.  Among suppliers to the VPP is zinc producer Sun Metals, which has a 124MWac solar farm boasting more than 1.3 million solar panels situated approximately 15 kilometres south of Townsville.

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