What Can a Big Battery Do?
The Victorian Big Battery will deliver a 250 MW network support service called SIPS which stands for System Integrity Protection Scheme.
SIPS is a mode of operation where the battery has an automatic, instantaneous response to a network failure. When SIPS is triggered by an unforeseen power line failure or generator outage, the battery automatically charges or discharges to prevent a blackout.
Batteries are incredibly well suited to perform this service because they can respond in the blink of an eye. Until recently, large power lines and state interconnectors had to maintain significant headroom to survive major interruptions. In recent years, SIPS from batteries has seen an increase in use unlocking this capacity, like opening up an extra lane on a freeway.
The battery will trade on the National Electricity Market (NEM).
This capacity is being used to store power from the grid when demand is low and dispatch it when demand is high, reducing the need for expensive gas ‘peaking plants’ and placing downward pressure on power prices.
Batteries are an essential component in the stable transition to clean electricity and achieving emissions reduction targets.
The battery can help to stabilise the grid through providing frequency control services. Frequency Control Ancillary Services (FCAS) is a system in the National Electricity Market that helps maintain the power system at the right frequency, namely 50Hz.
If the frequency goes outside a close operating band, the power system will face significant issues, potentially leading to complete blackouts.
For instance, if power generation rises, the frequency will rise. Similarly, if electricity demand increases, frequency decreases.
Case study: SA Big Battery
Neoen’s Hornsdale Power Reserve aka SA’s Big Battery is a 150 MW battery located next to Hornsdale Wind Farm near Jamestown in South Australia. Launched in 2018 and delivered in partnership with Tesla, it was the world’s first big battery.
In its first two year’s of operation HPR reduced costs by over $150 million for SA energy consumers – these reports provide more details: