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Australian state starts work on A$1 billion 600 MW BESS project in Melbourne

Image Courtesy: SEC Victoria

The Australian state of Victoria has announced its first investment through the State Electricity Commission (SEC) to help build one of the world's biggest battery projects, in partnership with renewable energy investor Equis Australia.

The SEC announced it would contribute A$245 million to the A$1 billion Melbourne Renewable Energy Hub (MREH), which will comprise three battery components totalling 600 MW in size. In a release, the SEC said Tesla will supply the batteries and Samsung will supply the remaining components of the storage system. The hub is expected to be operational by 2025 – when it will start storing excess rooftop solar and surplus energy from the grid. Once complete, the hub will provide 1.6 gigawatt hours of energy storage, enough to power up to 200,000 homes during peak periods.

The SEC's investment has both secured delivery of the project and enabled construction to begin immediately while allowing one of the project's battery components to double in size.

David Russell, Managing Director, Equis, said in a statement: "Equis is excited to partner with Victoria's SEC to develop the Melbourne Renewable Energy Hub. Without this partnership, this project would not be going ahead at this scale and capacity today."

Equis says the project is designed with innovative inverter technology to support the transmission grid's voltage and frequency, and replace 'system inertia' that is lost when coal- and gas-fired power stations retire over the next decade.

MREH is critical to meeting Victoria's demand for storage, as well as the state government's target of at least 2.6 GW gigawatts of energy storage capacity by 2030 and 6.3 GW by 2035. The project will also help firm up energy generated by the SEC's wind and solar projects, including the VRET 1, 2 and Bulgana contracts.

Victoria is transitioning to 95 percent renewable energy generation by 2035. The SEC has been granted A$1 billion by the Victorian government towards building 4.5 GW of new renewable energy generation and storage projects to help accelerate the state's energy transition and drive down the cost of energy bills. 

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