Big battery bridging the gap to reliable energy

SITE TOUR: Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan, Nexif Energy Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer Matthew Bartley and land owner Bruce Nutt.
SITE TOUR: Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan, Nexif Energy Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer Matthew Bartley and land owner Bruce Nutt.

The $500 million Lincoln Gap project located on the outskirts of Port Augusta has taken another step towards reliable power production, with the installation of a new battery storage system

The 10MW battery allows the project to more reliably integrate renewable energy into the National Electricity Market.

Once complete, the Lincoln Gap will boast 59 wind turbines and storage capable of producing enough electricity to power about 155,000 households in South Australia.

Minister for Energy and Mining Dan van Holst Pellekaan toured the site today, where there are currently 13 turbines erected with seven of those in full operation.

"We have wind farms already in South Australia across the state and they have their place in renewable energy because of the fact that it doesn't create emissions and at the margin it is the cheapest electricity to produce because the fuel is free," Mr van Holst Pellekaan said.

"What's so important about adding a battery to a wind farm is that you get to control the output of the wind farm with greater capacity to be useful to the market.

"We all know wind farms, solar farms and other wonderful ways of generating electricity from renewable energy are controlled by the weather - what we also need though is electricity to be dispatched on demand when consumers need it."

The project will offset over 600,000 tonnes of CO2 every year of its operation, with an expected life-span of over 25 years.

The battery is also the first in Australia to be constructed without any government subsidy.

Nexif Energy Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer Matthew Bartley welcomed the tour as an opportunity to show progress on the wind farm and battery installation.

"We are in the process of applying for the third stage of the wind farm which is another 245MW, so the visit comes at a very timely stage where we are working through completion of stage one, getting started on phase two and starting the process for phase three," Mr Bartley said.

"We initially started with a 10MW/H of storage battery. That can expand up to 60MW and we can also increase the storage by eight to 10 hours, and that will evolve as the market evolves and as the wind farm evolves."

As well es employing over 100 people on site, the company has also delivered on it sponsorship program with $50,000 recently dished out to local community groups.

Stirling North CFS, Country and Outback Health's headspace Clinic, Umeewarra Aboriginal Media and the West Augusta Football Club have all benefited from Nexif's Community Development Projects program.

"Collectively, these groups provide vital emergency services, mental health support, a voice for locals and an important junior and senior sporting option," Mr Bartley said.

"We're proud to support them so they can continue to support their community."

The project is expected to be fully operational by 2020.