A PRIVATE renewable energy generation company, Flow Power, has received state planning approval to build a 100MW battery in Morwell.

The newly approved Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) has a 200MW-hour capacity, which gives it a two-hour rating to charge or discharge at maximum power.

It will be built at Bennetts Creek on 2.3 hectares beside the existing Morwell Terminal Station on Monash Way.

A new transmission line connection will be built to the existing Morwell terminal substation. The project is estimated to cost about $150 million, with input from state and federal programs that back new battery projects in Victoria.

The battery aims to provide renewable energy ‘firming’ for Flow Power’s solar and wind portfolio in Victoria. To date, Flow Power, a private company, has developed and built or contracted more than two gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy projects across the national electricity market. It has wind and solar projects in Victoria, South Australia, NSW and Queensland. The Berri Energy Project in South Australia, another BESS project, began commercial operations earlier this year.

BESS facilities are designed to help stabilise the electricity grid during frequency disruptions, reduce blackouts and the need for ‘load shedding’ – when companies cut back on power use – when energy supply is affected when the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine.

With the planning permit approved, the next step for the project is entering contracts with contractors and suppliers, as well as a connection contract with Ausnet Services. Once this is complete, the company will place equipment orders for construction.

Flow Power is targeting financial closure in 2024, with construction starting in 2024-25 and commissioning/commercial operations in late 2025.

The project will include an onsite substation, an operational and maintenance facility with control room, and security fencing around the outside.

Flow Power’s chief operating officer, Byron Serjeanston, said a key criteria in selecting contractors and sub-contractors would be using the local workforce.

“We estimate the project will support about 50 full-time jobs during construction – six to 12 months – and one-to-two full-time jobs in operation,” he said.

Mr Serjeanston said as well as supporting the local grid, the Bennetts Creek project had engaged with local residents and neighbouring businesses in the planning application. Talks on the technical requirements of the project had also been undertaken with Fire & Rescue Victoria, Latrobe City Council, the Department of Transport and Planning, the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority and Ausnet, he said.

Mr Serjeanston said as one of the few Australian energy retailers with a completely renewable generation portfolio, the battery project marked a significant milestone for Flow Power.

“This project will enable us to provide battery-firmed renewables to Victorian energy users through products capable of linking supply to 100 per cent renewable energy in real time,” he said.

Flow Power is an electricity, technology and engineering company operating since 2008. A major investor is the Canadian pension fund, OP Trust, which came on board in 2018. Clients include The Sydney Opera House, Snack Brands, Westpac, The City of Sydney, Asahi Beverages, Newcastle Airport and Pernod Ricard Winemakers.