Major milestone with NSW first grid-scale battery fully operational

News - 17 December 2022


The 50MW/75MWh Wallgrove Grid Battery (WGB) in Western Sydney has become the first ‘big battery’ in NSW and the third Tesla grid-scale system in the world to demonstrate synthetic inertia.

The project received funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s Advancing Renewables Program and the NSW Government’s Emerging Energy program.

Transgrid Group CEO, Brett Redman joined the Hon Chris Bowen Minister for Climate Change and Energy at the Wallgrove Grid Battery today as the Federal Government announced ARENA funding for future grid scale batteries.

“Collaboration is key to the energy transition, and I’d like to thank the Federal and NSW Governments for their support and our project partners for helping deliver the Wallgrove Grid Battery project for consumers.

“Our trial of network services like synthetic inertia paved the way for this next generation of batteries and will provide critical learnings while also delivering grid stability at a lower cost for consumers,” Mr Redman said.

The projects receiving funding in ARENA’s Large Scale Battery Storage Round announced today are equipped with grid-forming inverter technology to provide system stability services.

WGB is an early demonstration of the inverter functionality that the funding round is supporting.

The Transgrid Group comprising Transgrid and Lumea collaborated with Iberdrola Australia and Tesla on the WGB. It was designed and constructed by Tesla using its Megapack technology, deploying its “Virtual Machine Mode” to demonstrate synthetic inertia.

The power system currently relies on inertia provided by large spinning turbines inside coal, gas and hydro generators to maintain a consistent frequency and help the system ride out any disturbances.

As coal-fired generators retire and more wind and solar generation connect to the grid, alternate sources of inertia will be needed to stabilise the network. Batteries can help fill this gap by using software to mimic the mechanical movement of turbines much like technology replaced the cogs to produce the digital watch.

“Inertia is like riding a bike, when you take your feet off the pedals it keeps rolling, but not for long, which is why we need to maintain inertia in our energy system to keep it operating.

“Currently synchronous generators or condensers can deliver inertia for stability, but batteries can also provide a greater range of benefits at a lower overall cost. They can also store excess renewable energy and then release it when consumers need it to help keep energy prices down,” he said.

To date, WGB has exported over 23GWh of energy, supplying the equivalent of the energy needs of 4,300 NSW households.

Since becoming operational the battery has been upgraded with advanced inverter features.