Australian energy utility, AGL, has received approval to build a 500 MW battery, with up to four hours of storage. The proposal has been approved by the state Department of Planning and Environment. The grid-scale lithium-ion battery energy storage system will be based at the site of the soon-to-be-closed Liddell power plant near Muswellbrook in the Hunter Valley.

The project is part of AGL’s plans to establish an integrated, low-carbon energy hub, envisioned by a partnership between AGL and Fortescue Future Industries. The hub will become operational by 2023 at the site of the ageing coal-fired generator which is to be shuttered early next year.

The battery is said to have an operational life of at least 20 years and will be built in three stages. The first unit of Lidell is likely to close next month, while the remaining three units are expected to close in April 2023. The project is in line with AGL’s plans to add 850 MW of grid-scale batteries to its portfolio by 2024.

AGL recently announced that it has fast-tracked the closures of its two biggest coal fired power plants by several years. As per the company’s statement, the 2.6 GW Bayswater power station in the Hunter Valley will be shuttered by 2033, two years ahead of its previously scheduled closure of 2035, while the Loy Yang A plant in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley will be closed by 2045 rather than 2048.

REGlobal’s Views: Energy storage assumes a significant role in Australia’s emerging energy landscape as the country strives to move away from coal power and plans massive renewable energy projects. Many large battery storage projects have already been proposed and more are in the pipeline.