Large-scale Storage Tracker

Large-scale storage is expected to grow exponentially in the coming decades. Coupling storage with renewable energy projects is an essential part of Australia’s transition from an electricity system dominated by large, centralised synchronous thermal generators to a more distributed generation fleet with a growing proportion of variable renewable energy sources. Currently, the number of projects announced dwarfs storage assets in operation and under construction. As seen in Figure 1, the market for storage has been buoyant in recent times. This is especially apparent following the release of Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) recent blueprint for the energy system of tomorrow, the 2020 Integrated System Plan (ISP). 

Using project information sourced from Energetics’ market-leading research and AEMO’s system data, there is circa 1,641MW of operational grid-connected battery storage and pumped hydro assets in the NEM, with a further 320MW under construction and circa 18,618MW announced or in planning.

Figure 1: Current battery storage and pumped hydro projects

The outlook for storage: AEMO’s forecast

Based on AEMO’s 2020 ISP forecast, depending on the scenario, the NEM will need 6-19GW of new flexible, utility-scale dispatchable resources (i.e. batteries, pumped hydro and gas) to firm up the inherently variable resources. Grid scale storage is in forecast to constitute up to 7.8GW of this new capacity by 2025 under the High DER (distributed energy resources) Scenario, and 13.5GW by 2030 in addition to the operational FY20 baseline of approximately 1.1GW.

At present the total capacity in operation or under construction (i.e. committed investment) comes to 619MW for grid-scale battery and 1.34GW for pumped hydro systems. However, when you add the new battery and pumped hydro projects announced, this pushes the total shallow, medium and deep storage capacity to 18GW[1].

As seen in Figure 2, AEMO's Central Scenario appears to be on track to becoming obsolete given the number of battery storage developments that have been announced. As illustrated, the current announced total of circa 18GW is close to where AEMO forecasts Australia to be by 2040 under the High DER Scenario. This highlights the immense interest in storage. However with so many new project announcements, not all will be delivered.

Figure 2: Dispatchable battery and pumped hydro forecast (based on publicly available data)

Number, size and locations of current operational grid-connected storage assets

As seen in Figure 3, the Hornsdale Reserve system is the market leader amongst operational grid-scale batteries at 150MW, and an energy storage capacity of 194MWh. However, with the breaking of ground in Geelong of Neoen’s new 300MW BESS, Hornsdale is now months away from losing its title of ‘Australia’s biggest battery’. However, as a testament to how rapidly evolving this space is, two further batteries have been announced by Neoen and Origin in 2021 that will both eclipse the Geelon BESS. Neoen have announced a 500MW BESS West of Sydney, while Origin plan on attaching their own 700MW BESS to the Eraring Coal-fired Power Station and its associated connections.
Taken together, all batteries either under construction or operational, average a capacity of circa 47.64MW. Taking the Hornsdale and the Geelong BESS out of this, the average system size is 14.94MW These figures are expected to change dramatically with 26 announced battery projects with capacities 50MW or larger.

Figure 3:  Current operational and under development battery systems[2]



[1] Shallow storage (up to 2 hours duration), Medium storage (4 to 12 hours duration) and deep storage (24 hours or more duration).

[2] For projects without a publicly announced MWh capacity, Energetics has assumed a conservative internationally aligned estimate of 1hr.


Insights and resources


Download our insights on storage and it's role in the future of the NEM

These insight articles examine the role that storage plays in addressing shape and performance risk as well as the role of storage in the future of the NEM.

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Download our insights on storage and it's role in the future of the NEM

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