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A Kiwi first: direct grid-connected battery is large and in-charge


22 August 2018 –  New Zealand’s first grid-scale battery storage facility was launched in Auckland by the Minister of Energy, Dr Megan Woods today.
 
Tesla’s Powerpack battery commissioned by Mercury at their Research and Development centre in South Auckland is part of an ambitious project to test the direct integration of battery energy storage with New Zealand’s electricity grid.

The energy company will also gather learnings around trading energy storage, and the relationship of stored electricity to the renewable hydro and geothermal electricity sources in its generation portfolio.

“Battery storage is a fast-developing technology with potential to support our country’s existing globally-envied renewable electricity supply,” says Fraser Whineray, Mercury’s Chief Executive.

“Mercury’s mission is energy freedom for New Zealand and everyone who lives here, and this means offering new ways that sustainable energy is provided.

Advances in battery technology are also fundamental to electrification of cars and trucks; they’re all part of the same energy ecosystem.”

Mercury has invested nearly $3 million in this project, to learn more about how battery storage can more efficiently and flexibly use current generation capability to meet consumer’s demand peaks, in tandem with New Zealand’s large renewable energy storage in hydro lakes.


Mercury-CE-Fraser-Whineray-and-Min-Energy-Megan-Woods.jpg
Mercury Chief Executive Fraser Whineray with the Minister of Energy, Dr Megan Woods at the launch of New Zealand’s first grid-scale battery storage facility.

The battery’s location next door to the national grid’s ‘main highway’ in to Auckland means learnings from the trial will ultimately contribute to the security of supply for Auckland’s homes and businesses.

“We are really pleased to have worked with Mercury to enable this innovative project to operate on the grid,” says John Clarke, General Manager Operations at Transpower.

“We see battery storage as playing an increasingly important role in providing a reliable supply of electricity in New Zealand, as we increase our reliance on wind and solar to generate our electricity.

We look forward to continuing to work with Mercury throughout the trial and gather key learnings to enable the transition to New Zealand’s sustainable energy future.”

As battery solutions evolve, making larger scale storage economic, this technology could effectively smooth demand for the electricity that powers New Zealand, leading to reduced reliance on non-renewable generation to support times of high demand.

Watch an animation of how battery storage could work in New Zealand’s wholesale electricity market (1’50”). 

In numbers

1

This is the first large-scale battery in New Zealand to be directly grid-connected. With its proximity to the national grid, it could be expanded for large-scale storage, trading and supply to the national electricity market

~$3 million

The significant investment Mercury has committed to explore a directly grid-connected and grid-scale battery storage system

100MW

The potential scale of a grid-connected battery storage facility at Mercury’s South Auckland site next to the national grid (comparable in output to a medium-sized geothermal or hydro power station)

30,000

The number of Kiwi homes that could be battery-powered during a two hour peak on a winter’s evening by a 100MW battery storage system



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