French energy company ENGIE, together with its project partners Eku Energy and Fluence, has commissioned the Hazelwood Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) in Australia.

The 50MW/150MWh utility-scale BESS facility was commissioned at the existing site of the previous Hazelwood Power Station in the Latrobe Valley in Victoria.

Hazelwood BESS can store the equivalent of one hour of energy generated from the rooftop solar systems of 30,000 homes.

The project is expected to play an important role in increasing Victoria’s renewable energy capacity, while delivering essential system services to the grid.

ENGIE ANZ CEO Rik De Buyserie said: “ENGIE’s delivery of the Hazelwood battery is part of our commitment to building long-term, reliable assets that play a key role in the future of Australia’s energy transition.

“With its access to transmission and available space at site, Hazelwood is the perfect location for an asset that can grow in depth and duration, increasing the hosting capacity for renewables.”

Built in the 1960s, Hazelwood power station was closed in 2017, after 50 years of service.

The Hazelwood BESS is said to be the largest utility-scale battery storage system in Australia, and the first such facility commissioned on a retired coal-fired power station.

ENGIE and Eku Energy, jointly funded and developed the project while Fluence is responsible for supplying, operating, and maintaining the facility.

It is the first project in Australia to use Fluence’s Gridstack product to provide secure and reliable energy in Victoria and support the energy transition.

The BESS project complements ENGIE’s plans to become Net Zero carbon by 2045 and supports repurposing of former thermal assets for renewable energy technologies.

Fluence Australia general manager and APAC market growth vice president Achal Sondhi said: “As the first project in Australia to deploy Fluence Gridstack, an energy storage product which is designed for the most demanding market applications, the Hazelwood battery is a major milestone for us.

“By partnering with ENGIE and Eku Energy, we are bringing Fluence’s proven advanced technology combined with over 15 years of global energy storage experience to deliver industry-leading reliability, scalability, and safety to Australia.

“Fluence Mosaic bidding software allows the Hazelwood battery to react quickly and efficiently to grid needs and maximise the revenue while allowing integration of more clean energy.”