Canberra ‘green’ suburb to feature Tesla megapack in suburban big battery project

Canberra will become host to a suburban big battery project as part of a plan to establish one of the ‘greenest’ new suburb developments in Australia.

The project is being developed by Elvin Group, a Canberra based supplier to the construction industry, which is already planning for further deployments of solar and battery storage projects across the ACT.

The large-scale battery is to be located nearby to the Ginninderry suburb development, a greenfield residential development on the edge of Canberra that has sought to exclude the use of gas within homes and has mandated the installation of solar power across each home and business built within the suburb.

The project will use the Tesla Megapack, which will provide 2.5MW and 5MWh of battery storage capacity, and will be one of the first deployments of a Megapack in Australia.

“The growth of Canberra’s population and more frequent extreme weather events have increased the demands on reliable power supply throughout the ACT,” Elvin Group Renewables managing director Sam Blackadder said.

“Over the past two years, the impact of storm events, hot summers and the devastating bushfires placed increased risk on the Territory’s power supply. Networks are looking for non-network options that help avoid extended brownouts/ blackouts and fluctuating voltage.”

“We have been developing this project for a large scale battery installation to support electrical grid infrastructure in potentially constrained parts of Canberra’s network via Frequency Control and Ancillary Services (FCAS).”

Blackadder said the battery would work to provide reliable supplies of zero emissions power to Canberra suburbs, as well as participating in Frequency Control and Ancillary Services (FCAS) markets. The battery will also have the capacity to provide around an hour of backup electricity supply for around 5,400 Canberra households.

The Ginninderry development, which the battery project will seek to serve, is located on Canberra’s north-eastern edge and has been touted as an environmentally sustainable residential development. The new suburb has sought to integrate the use of renewable energy and secured an exemption from ACT planning laws that had previously mandated the roll-out of gas connections to all new homes, allowing the suburb to run entirely on renewable electricity.

The battery itself is to be located in the nearby suburb of Holt and is set to be paired with a 500kW solar farm.

“While we are involved in renewable and advanced energy projects throughout Australia, we are a Canberra company and we have always been progressive and proactive in advancing projects that benefit the Canberra region,” Elvin Group CEO Craig Elvin said.

“We actively delivered the first solar farms in Canberra, both ground mount and roof mount solar farms, Elvin Group is also active in the development of affordable housing/land and Canberra, whilst also supporting local industry support initiatives and businesses.”

Elvin Group said that it hopes the battery will be the first state of a wider roll-out, and recognises the potential of renewable energy projects paired with energy storage to be a provider of reliable and low emissions energy.

“We are excited by this project. Not only is it a major ‘in-front of meter’ installation in Australia, but it is the first stage of a nationwide move to renewable energy and a wholesale reduction in our carbon emissions,” Blackadder said.

“The aim of this installation is to show that community how renewable resources are a viable solution to meet Canberra’s needs for stable, reliable, consistent and environmentally positive energy.”

Elvin Group also flagged the possibility that the project could be paired with a hydrogen production and storage facility. The company previously announced a partnership with Port Kembla based H2X to cooperate on the roll-out of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in Australia.

The ACT government has announced plans for the creation of a distributed ‘Big Canberra Battery’, recently launching a market sounding process to identify potential suppliers of batteries – up to 50MW in capacity – that will be installed across Canberra. The ACT government has committed $100 million in funding to support up to 250MW of distributed energy storage.

This is in addition to around 60MW of big battery storage that will be built in the ACT under renewable energy supply contracts signed by the ACT government with Neoen and GPG. Each company will build a big battery in Canberra, as part of a offtake agreement to supply wind power to ACT households, under the ACT’s 100 per cent renewable electricity target.

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