Work begins in Qld on $330m publicly owned battery

Construction has started on one of Queensland’s biggest publicly owned batteries, which will form part of a Clean Energy Hub at the Swanbank Power Station Precinct near Brisbane.

Tom Metcalfe: transformative journey

The $330 million battery is being delivered by government-owned electricity generator CleanCo in partnership with Tesla and Yurika, which is part of Energy Queensland.

It will be constructed on the site of the former Swanbank B coal-fired power station and will be a pivotal part of the Swanbank hub, the government says.

The battery is designed for around the clock operation and has a capacity of 250MW/500MWh. It can store enough energy to power more than two-thirds of Ipswich for two hours each night.

CleanCo CEO Tom Metcalfe says the project adds to the company’s fleet of renewable energy assets and marks the beginning of the Swanbank Clean Energy Hub’s “transformative journey”.

“This is the beginning of a new era for Swanbank and CleanCo is proud to be the custodian of a site which has evolved and adapted with Queensland’s energy landscape from coal to gas and now new battery technologies,” he said.

Yurika’s executive general manger Belinda Wattons said the battery signalled a positive investment in the state’s clean energy future.

“Alongside cheaper, cleaner and more reliable energy, this publicly owned asset supports the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan, creating jobs for Queenslanders,” she said.

The Battery Energy Storage System is set to arrive later this year, with plans to have the site energised by mid 2025.

The state government has funded the project via its renewable energy and jobs fund.

Landmark agreement on vanadium batteries

It comes as the government also announced this week an agreement between Vecco Group, Sumitomo Electric and Idemitsu Australia to market, sell and deliver vanadium flow batteries from North Queensland.

Vadium batteries are considered to be safter, cheaper and longer-lasting than lithium but are relatively high in toxicity and heavy.

Under the non-exclusive agreement, Idemitsu plans to market, sell and deliver vanadium flow batteries to Australian customers using Sumitomo Electric hardware and Vecco’s electrolyte made from vanadium mined in Queensland’s north west minerals province. 

Vecco Group will mine and refine high purity vanadium at their Julia Creek mine and manufacture battery electrolyte in Townsville. Detailed design for a commercial production facility is underway.  

Vecco received support from the Industry Partnership Program to establish Australia’s first vanadium electrolyte manufacturing facility which is currently operational in Townsville.

To cater for the growth expected under the new agreement, the company has secured a 3.2 hectare site in the Townsville State Development Area, for its commercial production facility.

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