Bulgana Green Power Hub battery storage at Stawell 'not enough' for power needs: Opposition energy spokesman

Construction workers at the launch of Tesla's 100 megawatt lithium-ion battery at Jamestown, north of Adelaide, In December. Picture: AAP/DAVID MARIUZ.
Construction workers at the launch of Tesla's 100 megawatt lithium-ion battery at Jamestown, north of Adelaide, In December. Picture: AAP/DAVID MARIUZ.

Stawell’s proposed ‘Bulgana Green Power Hub’ and battery storage will not be enough to help Victoria’s electricity problems, according to the state opposition.

Late last year the state government announced a 15-year support agreement with French energy company Neoen for the $665 million 204-megawatt renewable energy project and its 20-megawatt battery storage.

Last week AusNet Services announced a deal to distribute excess electricity from the Bulgana hub’s immediate customer, the proposed Nectar farms hydroponic operations, to Victoria’s power grid.

Opposition energy spokesman David Southwick has criticised the project as “too little, too late” in the fight to secure Victoria’s energy supply.

He also accused Premier Daniel Andrews of delivering only half the promised battery projects.

The state government announced in April that detailed proposals were being sought “to provide two 20MW batteries to be fully deployed by January 2018, providing storage capacity of at least 100 megawatt hours”.

A storage site similar to the 20MW battery proposed for Stawell could power a city the size of Bendigo or Ballarat for up to four hours during a peak demand period and avoid outages.

Mr Southwick said the government appeared to now be only committing to one battery to be delivered in 2019.

“Daniel Andrews is so busy chasing after green votes with his 40 per cent renewable energy target that he’s ignoring today’s energy crisis,” Mr Southwick said.

“Prices are up, we’re facing a heatwave and potential blackouts, and Daniel Andrews can’t even deliver two batteries on time.

“This is today’s problem, not tomorrow’s. Daniel Andrews has failed to deliver energy affordability and reliability for all Victorians.”

Mr Southwick made the comments ahead of Saturday, which saw many areas of Western Victoria preference temperatures above 40 degrees.

Despite concern of potential mass blackouts, the worst outage in the Stawell’s CFA District 16 was 191 customers losing power at Natte Yallock at 5.40pm.

In February, the state government released an expression of interest to “be constructed in the north-west or south-west of Victoria, where the energy market operator has identified opportunities to improve grid reliability”.

Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio has not released any details on the search for another battery project.

Neoen is a joint owner of a 100MW battery storage site in South Australia that was built by electric vehicle and home battery manufacturer Tesla.