Silver City Energy Storage Centre
As Australia modernizes its grid infrastructure, and moves towards aggressive carbon emission reductions, it is undergoing one of the most rapid energy transitions in the world. Large-scale and long duration energy storage is critical to support the growing levels of variable renewable energy (VRE) like solar and wind already on the nation’s electricity grid, as well as to manage ongoing retirements of conventional generation. Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (or A-CAES) is uniquely suited to meet these needs on the Australian grid given its large-scale synchronous capacity that can be located specifically where required.
The Silver City Energy Storage Centre is a cost-effective and emissions-free A-CAES project that provides unmatched benefits to consumers in a remote region with extensive renewable infrastructure and resources. Located in Broken Hill, New South Wales (NSW), the Centre will eliminate the need for major investments in expensive new transmission lines and ongoing reliance on highly polluting diesel generators. The Centre will also create enduring jobs that leverage the skills of the local workforce to deliver a clean, resilient future-proof power solution to the town of Broken Hill and the surrounding resources industry.
The project received funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) as part of ARENA’s Advancing Renewables Program. To learn more, visit ARENA.GOV.AU
About the project
The Silver City Energy Storage Centre is a 200 MW utility-scale A-CAES facility that will be located at a local mine and is designed to provide up to 8 hours of electricity discharge at a time (i.e. up to 1,600 MWh). The Centre is the first large-scale, long-duration energy storage project in Australia to be selected as a preferred solution in the first stage of a regulatory transmission planning process by a major utility. The feasibility-stage development work is supported with funding from the NSW government’s Emerging Energy Program. The Centre will provide critical back-up generation to ensure reliability of the electricity supply to the Broken Hill community and will solve significant congestion issues being experienced by existing renewable projects in the region. The Silver City Energy Storage Centre will allow the region to sustainably unlock the full economic potential of its traditional and renewable natural resources and achieve goals of working with existing and new resource companies to provide them with a low cost sustainable energy solution.
Integrate Renewable Energy
Stimulate Economic Growth and New Jobs
Transmission & Fossil Fuel Alternative
Repurpose Mining Infrastructure
- Size: 200 MW / up to 1,600 megawatt hours (MWh) (8 hours duration)
- Owner: Hydrostor 100%
- Location: Broken Hill, New South Wales (NSW), AUS
- Application: Renewables Integration, Non-Network Transmission Reliability Solution
- Economic: Up to 750 full-time equivalent job years during construction, AUS$550 million of expenditure will take place in New South Wales, of which 40% (or AUS$240+ million) will be in the local Broken Hill community (Third Party Report: ACIL Allen)
- Design Life: 50+ years
Driving economic growth: Provides diversified skilled mining and construction job opportunities and generates significant regional economic development during both the construction and operation phases of the Centre. Delivers greater direct and indirect benefits compared to lithium-ion battery projects, with substantial in-situ construction works and a 50+ year lifetime. Additionally, A-CAES uses standard components and enables skilled workers from the mining and fossil-fuel industry to leverage existing skills while contributing to Australia’s clean energy future.
Achieving environmental objectives: Provides an emission-free power plant that supports Australia’s objective of reducing carbon emissions to 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030 in addition to Broken Hill’s local goal of achieving 100% renewable energy supply by 2030. Also avoids the burning and trucking in of large amounts of diesel fuel that supplies the current reliability solution for Broken Hill.
Minimal land and water requirements: A-CAES can provide the equivalent bulk energy storage capabilities as pumped hydro with substantially lower land and water requirements, while repurposing existing mining infrastructure that would otherwise be retired.
Facilitating delivery of renewables: Deliver on-demand electricity when the grid needs it by storing and dispatching renewable energy generated in Western NSW and Western Victoria. The Centre will unlock the region’s renewable potential by relieving the pressure on the existing overloaded electrical transmission system. This will reduce line losses and curtailment of existing renewable facilities and allow new renewable projects to come online in the region.
Ensuring reliable supply to the Town of Broken Hill: The Centre will deliver backup electrical capacity for Broken Hill ensuring the lights stay on and the mining infrastructure continues to operate in the event that the transmission line fails. A-CAES can also improve the reliability of supply to Broken Hill by making maximum use of existing renewables in the region, without the need to import and store large quantities of diesel fuel.
Delivering transmission system value: The Centre will also maximize the efficient use of the existing transmission lines with benefits for the consumer and for generators across Western NSW and Victoria. Today, the transmission lines that transport the electricity generated in the Western areas of NSW and Victoria to major demand centre’s such as Sydney and Melbourne often reach their maximum safe capacity when renewable output is at its peak. This leads to higher line loses and forces local renewable production to be scaled back or shut down entirely, preventing these facilities from realizing their full economic and environmental potential. Traditionally, this problem is solved by the construction of expensive new transmission lines that are unsightly, prone to impacts from severe weather and can take years to gain environmental and stakeholder consent. The Silver City A-CAES project will instead solve this problem at much lower cost to the consumer by storing excess renewable electricity when transmission capacity is constrained and then sending that electricity down the same lines later in the day when capacity is available.
Offering low-cost expansion options once operational: Options to cost-effectively expand either storage duration (i.e. MWhs of storage) or capacity (i.e. MWs of capacity) post-construction, allowing for low-cost, easy to deliver, future adjustment of the Centre’s configuration as market and grid needs continue to evolve.