The project is a critical component of offering firmed renewable electricity.

Written by CWP Renewables |

Sapphire Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) has received approval of its performance standards to connect to the largest operational wind farm in NSW, making it the first BESS project to be added to an existing generation plant at the same connection point in the National Electricity Market, under the 5.3.9 procedures.

The 30 MW/1 hour+ duration battery – which has received its 5.3.10 letter from AEMO and TransGrid as approval to connect once constructed and commissioned – will be co-located at Sapphire Wind Farm, in the New England region. It will store excess energy from the wind farm and the grid, with the ability to feed electricity back into the grid during times of low generation or high demand. The battery’s fast response means it will also be able to provide frequency control services, which stabilise the grid and improve power quality.

CWP Renewables CEO Jason Willoughby said the approval would give the industry confidence that battery storage could be added to existing generation projects.

“We’re proud to be leading the way in obtaining the approval under the current regulatory framework to connect Sapphire Battery to our 270 MW Sapphire Wind Farm,” Mr Willoughby said.

“In what is already a technically challenging process, receiving connection approval for a hybrid plant that is co-located with a wind farm has only been possible through a collaborative process with our wind farm operations contractor Vestas, AEMO, Transgrid and Lumea.”

He also said the project was a critical component of offering firmed renewable electricity.

“The transition to renewable energy requires the likes of firming projects such as Sapphire Battery, which can help smooth out the variability of wind and solar generation,” he said.

“We have agreements with a large range of corporate customers who want to source firmed renewable energy to match their usage and this project brings us another step closer.”

Richard Lowe, CEO of Lumea said, “We are seeing a significant step change of capacity coming from renewable infrastructure. Energy storage is an important part of laying the foundations to deliver grid stability and connectivity as we transition.”

“The Sapphire BESS project exemplifies the collaboration required to move forward at pace and we are pleased to partner with CWP Renewables to deliver this project to the New England region of NSW.”

Sapphire Battery is part of the NSW Government’s Emerging Energy Program which aims to help with the development of innovative, large-scale electricity and storage projects in NSW.

As part of the Emerging Energy Program, the project learnings from Sapphire Battery will be passed on industry-wide, to further enable firming technology to advance in NSW.

Sapphire Battery has planning approval and construction is expected to start early next year following financial close, with the project expected to be operational in 2024.

It is the first BESS for CWP Renewables, which also has approval for a 150 MW battery to be co-located with its 414 MW Uungula Wind Farm in the Central West. Future wind farm projects also include battery storage.

Sapphire Wind Farm, located 18km west of Glen Innes, is currently the largest operational wind farm in NSW. It has a range of power purchase agreements in place, including with the ACT Government, Nestlé Australia, Fujitsu Australia and Transurban.

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