04/05/2021 - 15:31

$100m Wagerup battery headed for decision

04/05/2021 - 15:31

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A $100 million battery storage proposal for Wagerup is set for development approval next week, but could be delayed because of bushfire risk.

$100m Wagerup battery headed for decision
An electricity substation in East Perth. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

A $100 million battery storage proposal for Wagerup is set for development approval next week, but could be delayed because of bushfire risk.

Alinta Energy is planning the 100-megawatt battery on the site of Alcoa’s Wagerup refinery, where the company already operates two gas turbines with combined capacity of 350MW.

That comes while Synergy is planning a 100MW/200 megawatt hour battery in Kwinana, after running a request for proposal process in October.

The Wagerup gas generators are designed to quickly push out power in times of high demand, with a battery able to support output or take excess supply when the market is fluctuating.

Alinta’s modular battery for Wagerup has already been approved by the Environmental Protection Authority, and has been recommended for approval by the Shire of Waroona at the Regional Development Assessment Panel meeting next Wednesday.

But there are concerns about bushfire risk.

The proposal documents show the Department of Fire and Emergency Services suggested approval be deferred until a bushfire attack level and bushfire management plan was submitted for the site.

The department said the site was in a bushfire-prone area.

“[The department] further advised that given the proposed development has the potential to increase the threat of bushfire to people, property and infrastructure, it is considered that it should not be supported until such time that the bushfire risk and hazard reduction measures are established and understood,” the document said.

But Alinta said the proposed development was exempt from compliance with the relevant bushfire planning provisions.

The documents show Alinta believed the location was exempt because the development did not contain a habitable building, would not need an increase in employees on site, and did not intensify land use, which were listed as criteria for exemptions in planning regulations.

The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage had supported that interpretation, the documents said.

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