The Southern Hemisphere’s Biggest Battery Just Got Switched On in Victoria

The Southern Hemisphere’s Biggest Battery Just Got Switched On in Victoria
Image: Victorian Big Battery

In November 2020, the Victorian government announced plans to build the biggest battery in the Southern Hemisphere. This was to do with a transition to renewables across the state. On Wednesday, that battery station got switched on.

The Moorabool ‘Victorian Big Battery’ (actual name) battery station in Geelong stores energy sourced by wind farms and solar panels so that it can be used later. The battery station is being run by French independent renewable energy company Neoen, with the help of energy delivery business AusNet and Tesla and its Megapack batteries. It’s more than double the capacity of the Tesla battery station built in South Australia in 2017.

“The Victorian government is proud to flick the switch on Australia’s biggest battery which will help protect our network in summer, support our renewable revolution and slash energy prices,” said Minister Lily D’Ambrosio, the Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change.

“Neoen’s battery is a fantastic achievement as Victoria transitions to our legislated targets of 50 per cent renewables by 2030 and net zero by 2050.”

The station is made up of 210 Tesla Megapack batteries and offers 300 MW of storage capacity, all intended for use on the Victorian grid. It’ll be powerful enough to provide energy to one million Victorian homes for half an hour. It’s one of several battery stations that Neoen will be building in Australia, with stations planned for NSW and South Australia. If we’re going to get serious with renewables, more battery stations like this are a must-have.

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews added in a tweet that the Victorian Big Battery will mean cheaper bills, while also supporting a clean energy future.

This Victorian Big Battery might ring a bell with you – during its construction, a fire broke out at the site which destroyed two Tesla Megapacks. Let’s hope it’s more secure now than it was back then.

Typically without a battery, the energy sourced from these renewables would need to be used near immediately, otherwise it would be wasted. Battery stations like this one kind of go hand-in-hand with renewables all over the world – if we can’t store the energy for later use, then how will we use wind energy during windless days or solar energy during the night?

Of course, this only gets us closer to a 100 per cent renewables future. Right now, we’re still phasing these sorts of things in. For the moment it looks like there’s a chance of renewable energy sources producing too much energy when there’s nowhere for said energy to go. Perhaps it can go to electric vehicles.

With this huge battery built, the Victorian power grid can be better supported by renewables, although it’s just a step into the future. It’ll be exciting to see more of these down the line.