FAQS

ABOUT THE BATTERY

How long will it take to build the battery?
Construction of the Great Western Battery will take around 16 months.
How big will it be?
Once completed, the 500MW battery will cover around 5 hectares of land. It will be no higher than 2.5 metres.
Where will it be located and why?
The Great Western Battery will be located near the existing Wallerawang substation, approximately 2km north of Wallerawang.

The land is ideal because it is flat, in a rather isolated area, and surrounded by trees.

The Great Western Battery will support the increasing number of solar and wind projects in NSW.

What technology will be used?
We will use Lithium-Ion batteries, which usually have a 20 year lifespan. They retain most of their capacity right up to this point and are often capable of operating beyond this time depending on market conditions and other factors.

How does it work?

The Great Western Battery will store energy in times of high production and release energy in times of high demand, similar to how a battery on a home solar system works. It will also help to stabilise the grid in a few different ways – it has an emergency response mode to prevent blackouts and it can maintain voltage and frequency levels.

ECONOMIC

Who will pay for it?
The project will be privately financed by Neoen.
How will the battery reduce costs for consumers?
The Great Western Battery can reduce costs for consumers in three ways:

  • supporting more wind and solar, which are now the cheapest forms of power
  • allowing more power to flow into the state, increasing competition and pushing electricity prices down
  • helping to avoid blackouts and the associated costs
Will local jobs be created?
It is expected the Great Western Battery will create a significant volume of construction jobs and a number of full-time ongoing positions.

We will also provide opportunities for local suppliers, businesses, schools and community groups.

LOCAL

I live nearby – what impact will this have on me?
During construction, we expect some localised traffic, noise and dust impacts. However, we will be managing these to minimise them as much as possible. Following installation, the battery will be visible at the site and will look like an enclosure of white containers.
How will construction impact the surrounding area?
As with most projects of this size, there will be some impacts. In this case they will be mostly during construction. We will work with the community, neighbours and NSW Department of Planning to minimise these impacts. As part of the planning process we are required to submit a Traffic Management Plan along with noise and dust impact studies.
How can I have my say on the project?

We will be working with the community throughout the project to understand local concerns and aspirations, and ensure we minimise any impacts. We encourage the community to provide feedback through completing the survey.

How will the community benefit?
A Community Benefit-Sharing Scheme will be established for the life of the project. We’re keen to hear from the community about what form this would take.

SAFETY & ENVIRONMENT

What approvals are required for the project?
The project requires a development approval permit from the NSW Department of Planning.
Will the battery increase the risk of fire?
The Great Western Battery will meet all relevant standards for fire safety and we are working with the local CFA to ensure the project also meets their requirements.

Batteries, like all electrical equipment, require careful design to ensure that fire risk is mitigated and controlled. For the VBB the first line of defence for fire risk is to isolate any problem battery packs and prevent the problem spreading. The tesla megapack battery modules are all individually controlled and require a system-OK signal to remain active. If the signal is lost for any reason, the individual battery packs self-isolate and disconnect from the power inverters. As a secondary line of defence, these battery packs are housed in separate IP rated insulated cabinets that are designed to contain any overheating issues to the affected cabinet only. The battery is also monitored 24hours a day, and we are able to diagnose issues through the control system. As a final line of defence the site has on-site fire-fighting water and equipment.

All of the medium voltage and high voltage cabling associated with the battery is underground, protected from extreme weather and external shorts. Perhaps the biggest fire risk is to the north and east of the battery site, where the existing above-ground high voltage power lines connect the Moorabool substation to customers in the electricity network. Here the battery contribution to fire risk will be positive: the VBB will install lightning conduction structures that will help to reduce the risk of lightening strike on these existing transmission towers.

Are there any health risks?
The battery will use similar technology to the batteries that are being increasingly installed in homes, just on a larger scale. There are no known health risks associated with properly maintained large-scale battery installations.
What happens to the batteries when they reach the end of their life?
We commit to removing all above-ground infrastructure and the site will be rehabilitated when the project ceases to operate. This will be a condition of the Development Approval.

After removal, a large percentage of the material in the batteries will be reclaimed or recycled; more than 60% of materials, especially critical minerals, will be recovered for re-use