Octopus Australia receives planning approval for 1GWh standalone BESS project in Queensland

It would be one of the largest BESS assets in the state, which has placed a strong emphasis on the role of energy storage, including batteries and pumped-storage hydro, in its A$62 billion ($41.9 billion) Energy and Jobs Plan policy strategy.

In addition to projects set to enter public ownership, such as the 300MW/1200MWh system at the Stanwell Clean Energy Hub in Central Queensland, and support for the state’s lithium-ion (Li-ion) and flow battery industry and supply chain, fully private projects such as Blackstone Battery could also play a key role in delivering the state’s promised economic growth and progress towards renewable energy targets.

Queensland aims to achieve 70 per cent renewable energy by 2032 and 80 per cent by 2035. According to government statistics, 27 per cent of the state’s energy generation came from renewable sources in February this year.

From Octopus Australia’s perspective, the company said the large-scale BESS would be used to help it balance its portfolio of renewable energy projects in Queensland. These include a 180-MW operational wind farm and a solar-plus-storage facility with 100MW of PV and a 55MW/220MWh BESS that the company is building alongside a wind farm in Queensland’s Western Downs region.

The PV-plus-BESS Ardandra plant was the largest renewable energy project under construction in Australia in August last year, according to a report by industry association the Clean Energy Council (CEC).

Blackstone will be located 30km from the state capital Brisbane, on a 9ha site in the industrial town of Swanbank in Ipswich. Octopus bought the project from developer Firm Power in October 2023, with plans to connect to transmission operator Powerlink’s network via the existing 275kV substation at Swanbank.

The assets will form part of the interconnected National Electricity Market (NEM), with Octopus saying last year it intended to make a final investment decision (FID) in the second half of 2025.

Octopus Australia is part of the portfolio of sustainable and disruptive industries investor Octopus Group. The group is majority-owned by Octopus Energy Group, which has a retail arm (or tentacle) in the UK that is now the country’s largest utility provider, and in addition to renewables and BESS development, also has Kraken Technologies, an energy technology platform that enables the optimisation and trading of energy assets, including batteries, in various markets around the world.

Following the acquisition of the Blackstone Battery project last year, Sonia Teitel, Octopus Australia’s chief investment and development officer, said the assets would “enable the structuring of innovative off-take products”.

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