Powercor installs Australia's largest battery in Ballarat South

20 August 2015

Power outages lasting more than 100 minutes could be a thing of the past for residents in the south of Buninyong from early 2016 after electricity distributor Powercor installs Australia’s largest battery in Buninyong.


The 2 megawatt battery will be housed in a standard 40 foot shipping container and is capable of providing approximately 3,000 customers with an hour of back-up power during a power outage.


“This investment will highlight the capabilities and value of using a battery storage system on a rural long feeder in Buninyong, south of Ballarat. This will allow us to determine if using the installation of batteries on the network will successfully increase capacity temporarily during peak demand periods,” said Tim Rourke, chief executive officer, Powercor.


Equivalent to 20 percent of the current powerline’s capacity, the battery will increase the bandwidth of the network on peak demand days.


“Think of it as adding an extra lane to a heavily used highway during peak hour. The battery’s additional capacity will help reduce stress on the network on peak demand days, which then increases the life of the existing electrical asset, reduces maintenance costs and ultimately lowers costs for our customers,” said Mr Rourke.


Data shows that customers in Buninyong experience an average of three outages a year with each outage lasting over 100 minutes.


“Our initial analysis has determined that two out of three power outages could have been prevented if we had a battery in place. We anticipate that installing the battery will reduce the total outage time by almost 66 percent to less than 33 minutes a year,” said Mr Rourke.


“As an electricity distributor, we recognise our increasing role in assessing energy trends and enabling new technologies as our customers increasingly embrace newer and more energy efficient technologies such as solar and battery storage. We are constantly looking for our ways to allow our electricity networks to operate more flexibly and maintain reliability while ensuring that our customers still receive a low-cost distribution service. This project is one such initiative that demonstrates our commitment to building an evolving network,” says Mr Rourke.

 

Installing the battery in December 2015 means customers can expect an increase in reliability of their power supply from early 2016, instead of waiting till 2017 and 2019 for scheduled capital upgrades in the area.

 

The battery is currently being built in South Korea and Powercor expects to commence testing of the battery in December 2015 with the battery fully operational by early 2016.