In a significant move towards renewable energy, the first major battery installation at an Australian coal site has become operational in the Latrobe Valley. The Hazelwood battery, with a capacity of 150 megawatts, has been linked to existing infrastructure and marks another step forward in Victoria's transition to clean energy.
The former Hazelwood power station site has now been repurposed to accommodate the large-scale battery project. This groundbreaking battery can power approximately 75,000 homes for one hour during evening peak times, showcasing the potential impact of such installations.
Victorian Energy Minister Lily D'Ambrosio attended the battery commissioning and expressed her satisfaction with the state's progress in energy storage projects. She emphasised the importance of ambitious energy storage targets, as they attract industry investment and collaboration opportunities, further solidifying Victoria's role in the future of renewable energy. Victoria aims to connect at least 2.6 gigawatts of battery storage to the grid by 2030, with a target of 6.3 gigawatts by 2035, to support its plan of generating 95 percent of electricity from renewable sources by the same year.
The Latrobe Valley, historically known for its coal-fired power stations, is undergoing a transition as the region adapts to cleaner energy sources. Following the closure of Hazelwood, Yallourn and Loy Yang A, two other coal power plants, are slated to cease operations in 2028 and 2035, respectively. The Hazelwood battery leverages the existing grid infrastructure, installed initially to support the coal industry, to inject power into the grid. This infrastructure will also facilitate the connection of offshore wind farms planned for the Gippsland coast.
The introduction of the Hazelwood battery brings hope to the local community during this transition. Peter Mooney, the organiser of the Electrical Trades Union in Gippsland, stated that the battery installation would instil confidence in the region as it witnesses the closure of coal plants. He acknowledged the significance of the battery project and the potential it holds, especially with three other batteries proposed for the area. Although battery installations mainly offer short-term employment opportunities during construction, they signify a promising future for the region as it embraces renewable energy sources.
As Victoria continues to lead the nation in implementing battery and energy storage projects, the commissioning of the Hazelwood battery marks a significant milestone in the state's journey towards a greener and more sustainable future.