Only 12 months after French firm Neoen was awarded a grid services contract with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), its Victorian Big Battery (VBB) – one of the largest in the world – has started operating at full capacity.

Able to supply 450 megawatt hours (Mwh) of power, the battery is crucial to the modernisation of the Victorian electricity network and is expected to help the State reach its target of 50% renewables by 2030.

Over the next decade, the VBB will unlock up to 250 MW of additional peak capacity on the existing Victoria to New South Wales Interconnector (VNI), which Victorian Minister for Energy Lily D’Ambrosio said will help to slash energy prices.

In addition to expanding VIC’s renewable energy output, for every $1 invested the battery will deliver $2.40 in benefits to Victorian households and businesses, according to an independent analysis.


Over half a gigawatt of storage across three continents

Neoen chairman and CEO Xavier Barbaro said: “The delivery of the Victorian Big Battery is a major achievement for Neoen, not only because it is one of the largest batteries in the world, but also because it represents another key milestone in terms of innovation.

“Our journey in storage began in Australia in 2015 and we now have over half a gigawatt of storage operating across three continents.

“We are convinced that large-scale battery storage is a vital element of the energy transition and we will continue to build on our experience to transform the grid of the future for the benefit of industry and consumers across Australia and around the globe.”

The VBB has more than three times the capacity of the world’s first utility scale battery, which was built at the Hornsdale Power Reserve in South Australia by Neoen and Tesla in 2017.

At the time Hornsdale Power Reserve had 100 megawatts capacity but these days it is capable of delivering 150 MW or 189 megawatt hours after an expansion last year.


Grid stability during the peak of summer

Neoen said the VBB has a 250 MW System Integrity Protection Scheme (SIPS) contract with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

Under the contract, the battery – which is owned by Neoen and delivered in partnership with Tesla, AusNet Services, UGL, Downer, the Australian Energy Market Operator, and the Andrews government – will provide an automatic instant response in the event of an unexpected network outage, providing AEMO with an additional means of ensuring grid stability during the peak of summer.

Located next to Moorabool Terminal Station in Geelong, the battery will also participate in the National Electricity Market and support increased penetration of renewables in Victoria through network services such as fast frequency control.

Neoen is one of the world’s leading producers of exclusively renewable energy and has more than 4.8 GW of solar, wind and storage capacity in operation or under construction in Australia, France, Finland, Mexico, El Salvador, Argentina, Ireland, Portugal, Jamaica, and Mozambique.