SEC’s comeback brings largest battery project to Victoria

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Image credit: vic.gov.au

The State Electricity Commission (SEC) has marked its return with an investment to construct one of the world’s largest battery projects, the Melbourne Renewable Energy Hub (the Hub), near Melton, Victoria.

Premier Jacinta Allan and Minister for the State Electricity Commission Lily D’Ambrosio initiated the project by turning the first sod, symbolising a significant stride towards renewable energy generation and storage, the government announced in a news release.

This strategic move is part of the SEC’s $1 billion commitment to developing 4.5 gigawatts of new renewable energy generation and storage projects, aimed at expediting the energy transition and driving down energy costs for consumers.

The Hub, a collaboration with renewable energy investor Equis Australia, will consist of three battery components totalling 600 megawatts, providing a substantial energy storage capacity of 1.6 gigawatt hours.

With a $245 million investment from the SEC, the Hub is set to create up to 155 jobs during its construction, including opportunities for 14 apprentices and trainees.

The immediate commencement of construction ensures the project’s timely delivery, with the Hub expected to be operational by 2025.

The Melbourne Renewable Energy Hub plays a role in meeting Victoria’s increasing demand for storage, aligning with the Victorian Government’s target of achieving at least 2.6 gigawatts of energy storage capacity by 2030 and 6.3 gigawatts by 2035.

As Victoria strides towards 95 per cent renewable energy generation by 2035, large-scale storage facilities like the Hub become essential for harnessing and storing energy from solar and wind projects.

According to the government, the project is not only integral for meeting the state’s storage demands but also complements the SEC’s existing wind and solar projects, including VRET 1, 2, and Bulgana contracts.

By storing excess rooftop solar and surplus energy from the grid, the Hub will contribute to meeting the growing energy needs of Victoria.

The SEC’s decision to invest in the Hub garnered substantial interest, with over 100 Registrations of Interest received, reflecting a combined market capacity of 24 gigawatts of generation and 30 gigawatts of storage capacity.

Premier Allan asserted that they are engaged in constructing crucial energy projects under the SEC, with a focus on investing in the grid to reduce household bills for all Victorians by providing more affordable and dependable renewable energy across the state.

Minister for the State Electricity Commission Lily D’Ambrosio emphasised that the investment signifies a significant advancement in augmenting Victoria’s renewable storage capacity.

“The investment is a huge step forward in increasing Victoria’s renewable storage capacity – which is critical to meeting our nation-leading targets of 95 per cent renewable energy generation by 2035,” D’Ambrosio stated.

Meanwhile, Member for Sydenham Natalie Hutchins conveyed that Sydenham is slated to become the location for one of the world’s largest batteries, underscoring not only job creation and training opportunities during construction but also the delivery of more economical energy for Victorians.