WA has awarded a $155 million contract to New Horizons Ahead (NHOA) Australia to deliver Western Australia’s biggest lithium-ion battery on a site that is “bigger than 20 tennis courts”, the McGowan government announced today

The 100-megawatt battery will be built at the decommissioned Kwinana Power Station with space to expands the battery’s power and energy capacity if required and has the capacity to power the equivalent of 160,000 homes for two hours.

Construction will begin in November 2021 with the battery expected to be operational by the end of 2022.

Rapid energy transformation happening

Premier Mark McGowan said: “This battery is crucial to WA’s sustainable energy future and a key part of the Distributed Energy Resources Roadmap.

“There is a rapid energy transformation happening and energy storage systems such as this battery will play a key role in providing better energy outcomes for Western Australian households and businesses.”

The battery will be able to store excess rooftop solar energy during the day when demand is low and discharge electricity rapidly during the afternoon and evening peak.

NHOA has awarded a $50 million contract to local contractor GenusPlus Group for the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning of the big battery.


1 in 3 WA households have rooftop solar

Synergy will operate the battery, which will help stabilise the electricity system by absorbing fluctuations caused by the increasing number of renewables on the grid.

One in three WA households have rooftop solar panels and this is expected to rise to 50 per cent by 2030.

The WA Government has committed $140 million towards the big battery project, with the Commonwealth Government contributing $15 million.

WA Energy minister Bill Johnston said: “WA’s biggest battery will support more renewable energy technologies joining the grid and help increase power stability.”


Solar power gaining momentum in China, new research article says

Solar photovoltaic power is gaining momentum in China as a solution to air pollution and climate challenges, says a new research article by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States (PNAS).

As the world’s largest CO2 emitter, it is no doubt that China’s ability to decarbonise its energy system strongly affects the prospect of achieving the 1.5 °C limit in global, average surface-temperature rise.

The research article says that understanding cost-competitive and grid-compatible solar photovoltaic (PV) power potentials is critical for China’s future energy pathway.

In line with the trends of the past decade, the report demonstrates a model to evaluate the evolution of the grid PV potentials in China during 2020 to 2060 under the assumption of continued cost degression.

It says in contrast to the PV production of 0.26 PWh in 2020, results suggest that China’s technical potential will increase from 99.2 PWh in 2020 to 146.1 PWh in 2060 along with technical advances, and the national average power price could decrease from 4.9 to 0.4 US cents/kWh during the same period.

“About 78.6% (79.7 PWh) of China’s technical potential will realise price parity to coal-fired power in 2021, with price parity achieved nationwide by 2023.”


Solar projects could supply 43% of China’s electricity by 2060

The analysis went on to highlight that the cost advantage of solar PV allows for coupling with storage to generate cost-competitive and grid-compatible electricity and the combined systems potentially could supply 7.2 PWh of grid-compatible electricity in 2060 to meet 43.2% of the country’s electricity demand at a price below 2.5 US cents/kWh.

These findings emphasise a crucial energy transition point, not only for China but for other countries, at which combined solar power and storage systems become a cheaper alternative to coal-fired electricity and a more grid-compatible option.