WALLERAWANG power station is well and truly closed but it seems that Wang itself may be back in the power game with a proposal for the so-called Great Western Battery Project.
Neonen Australia is proposing what it says is a large scale Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) in Brays Lane about two kilometres from the Wallerawang town centre.
It is intended to inject 500 megawatts of available power into the State grid.
The development, which is not yet approved, falls under the State Significant Development category given to any project with more than $30 million of capital investment. It is expected to be approved soon.
Also making news:
The State Significant Development takes the approval decision out of Council's hands, as was the case in recent years when Council sought to oppose a gravel quarry at Wallerawang.
The company met in closed session with Lithgow Council and some stakeholders - including the Rural Fire Service in mid December to outline the plan for the mega battery hub.
There is only one other such battery farm currently in the country and that's in South Australia. Neonen is the company that worked with Tesla previously on the SA battery project. Tesla owner Elon Musk famously promised that the battery would be completed within "100 days from contract signature", otherwise the battery would be free.
Neonen says the project would involve the construction and operation of a large scale BESS with a 'generation capacity of around 500 megawatts and a storage capacity of up to 1000 megawatt hours.
"The project seeks to provide a critical element of the expanding renewable energy industry and future capacity and resilience of the NSW energy network through providing a large scale energy storage system," the company said.
It would operate 'unlike any other current device connected to the NSW network' and would connect to an existing Transgrid substation.
The battery farm is expected to have a 20 year operational life.
Neonen said it hopes to begin construction this year (2021) and to be fully operational by 2023.
During the peak construction period there will be between 150 and 200 employees on site but it's unclear how many permanent positions will be offered once construction is complete.
It is expected that no permanent work force will remain, with just occasional visits by maintenance workers who will maintain the site.
Neon Australia has been in the renewables industry since 2008 after the company was established in France and already operates the world's biggest lithium-ion battery energy system at Hornsdale in South Australia as well as energy project around the world.
Have your say
Neoen are holding a Community Information Session to share information and hear the community's thoughts on the project in Wallerawang next month.
It will be held on Wednesday, 3rd February from 2-7pm at the Bistro Room at The Commercial Hotel on 66 Main Street.
On the day, people can meet the project team, view maps and learn about the project.
To learn more about the development and information day, head to greatwesternbattery.com.au/community-day/
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