A new and improved 'big battery' for the Darwin-Katherine electricity grid


A major step has been made towards the Northern Territory Government’s 50% renewable energy target with a tender awarded for the 35MVA (megavolt amps) Darwin-Katherine Battery Energy Storage System (DK BESS) - a ‘big battery’ for the Darwin-Katherine grid which will deliver cost savings of around $9.8 million per year. The DK BESS is expected to pay for itself in approximately five years.

Global technology leader Hitachi Energy is committed to advancing a sustainable energy future for all. With customers in the utility, industry and infrastructure sectors and a 30-year history in the Territory, Hitachi Energy will deliver the major components of the $45 million DK BESS to be built and located at Territory Generation’s Channel Island Power Station.

The Darwin-Katherine electricity system provides energy to 150,000 Territorians, and one in six customers have roof top solar panels. Customers are using more of their own solar generation to power their homes and businesses during the day rather than using traditional generation.

The $45 million DK BESS is the first step towards reducing the use of gas generators for the Darwin-Katherine system. It will unlock further capacity for households to connect their rooftop PV or for industry to invest into lower cost solar systems for the commercial and industrial operations. The DK BESS will use Hitachi Energy’s virtual synchronous machine technology to replace the existing thermal generation.

The revised battery specifications offer increased storage capacity capable of delivering energy and services for longer than the original design. The battery will be online continuously, replacing one gas-fired generating unit.

Major benefits of the DK BESS include:

  • significantly reduced carbon emissions for the Territory - reducing the need for gas-fired spinning reserve can deliver both cost savings of around $9.8 million and emissions reductions of about 58,000 tonnes per annum
  • replaces a frame 6 generating unit in providing contingency generation for power system events
  • inertia from the battery will increase stability and reliability of the power supply - fluctuations caused by the intermittency of solar energy can be managed quickly and efficiently.

Ongoing jobs and further training opportunities will be provided with the establishment of the DK BESS, supporting 25 local jobs during the build.

Producing a BESS for the Darwin-Katherine electricity grid is a major part of the recently announced Northern Territory Government Darwin-Katherine electricity system plan, and fits into the governments ‘ready’ stage of the plan. It is also a cornerstone investment of Territory Generation’s fleet transition.

Construction will commence in 2022 with the DK BESS expected to be operational in 2023.

Worker removing a battery from panel

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