The Final investment Decision (FID) on the approximately A$750m Liddell Battery project was announced in December 2023. (Credit: Fluence)
The project will be located on the site of Liddell power station. (Credit: Webaware/ Wikipedia)
The project infrastructure will include approximately 900 pre-assembled battery enclosures. (Credit: Z22/Wikipedia)

The Liddell Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) Project involves the development of a 500MW, two-hour duration grid-scale battery in New South Wales (NSW), Australia.

AGL Energy, an integrated energy retailer, owns the BESS project.

The company reached the Final Investment Decision (FID) on the approximately A$750m ($503m) battery project in December 2023.

Construction works are slated to begin in early 2024, with operations expected to start from mid-2026.

The expected asset life of the Liddell battery project is 20 years.

According to the company, the development of the BESS will help AGL to achieve its interim target of approximately 5GW of new renewables and firming capacity in place by 2030.

Liddell Battery Project Location

The Liddell Battery project will be located on the site of Liddell power station, which was closed in 2023.

It will become a part of AGL’s Hunter Energy Hub that is being planned at the site.

Overall, the AGL Macquarie (AGLM) landholding covers a total area of approximately 10,000-hectares (ha) which hosts Liddell power station and the nearby Bayswater power station operational areas.

The area also includes the Ravensworth rehabilitation area, Lake Liddell and surrounding buffer lands.

The AGLM landholding is located approximately 165km west-northwest of Sydney in NSW.

The BESS is planned to be constructed within ‘Area 2’, an existing solar array area comprising nearly 5-ha of solar thermal equipment. The 8-ha site was selected as it is on previously used operational lands and will no longer be needed for power station operations.

Liddell Battery will be connected to the existing TransGrid 330kV substation through a new 330kV high-voltage power line.

Background Details and Funding

Planning approval for the Liddell battery project was issued by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) in March 2022.

In December 2022, the BESS was selected as one of eight battery projects by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) for conditional funding. It received an A$35m grant from ARENA.

The project received Stated Significant Development (SSD) status from NSW Department of Planning in March 2023.

In November 2023, the Liddell project secured a Firming Supply Long-Term Energy Service Agreement (LTESA) from AEMO Services under Tender Round Two of the NSW Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap.

Initially, the project was conceived as a storage system with a capacity of 250MW/ 500MWh. However, AGL chose to increase the capacity to provide important systems services to the Hunter region.

The battery components will be funded through AGL’s balance sheet, using operating cash flows and existing debt facilities including the company’s recently secured green capex loans.

Liddell Battery Energy Storage Infrastructure

The project infrastructure will include approximately 900 pre-assembled battery enclosures containing lithium-ion type batteries, internal cooling and fire suppression systems.

The BESS components will be mounted on slab footings, either containerised or enclosed in a formalised layout.

Other essential components will include approximately 148 medium voltage skid (inverter and transformers), approximately 148 630Volt (V) to 33kV step-up transformers, one control room, two electrical rooms, one social facility room and four storage rooms, 33kV reticulation system and collector switchrooms.

Subject to detailed design, the project will include overhead, underground, or a combination of both, 330kV line to connect to TransGrid 330 kV substation; two 33 kV / 33kV / 330 kV three-winding transformers and 330 kV connection equipment; and other associated infrastructure.

LBBAWP Project Development

The BESS project will be established as part of Liddell Battery and Bayswater Ancillary Works Project (LBBAWP).

The first stage will involve decoupling works which include making alternate network connection arrangements for the Liddell 33kV switching station that provides electricity for Bayswater power station operations.

In the second stage, the BESS will be built. It will also include replacing a portion of Liddell’s dispatchable electricity supply for the National Energy Market (NEM).

The third stage will involve works associated with Bayswater power station including certain upgrades to ancillary infrastructure.

Contractors Involved

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) was engaged to advise AGL on the development of Liddell BESS.

In December 2023, Fluence Energy was selected by AGL to deliver the energy storage system. Under the contract, Fluence will provide its Gridstack energy storage product with a five-year service agreement.

The project will also use Fluence’s asset performance management software Nispera.

Infrastructure consulting firm AECOM Australia a Soil and Water Management Plan (SWMP) and an Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management Plan (ACHMP) for a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS).