BlackRock’s Akaysha Energy to build A$1bn battery in Australia

The 850MW Waratah Super Battery project in New South Wales will act as a ‘shock absorber’ for the state's power system.

BlackRock-owned Australian battery storage developer Akaysha Energy is set to develop the New South Wales government’s A$1 billion ($624.4 million; €639.7 million) Waratah Super Battery, touted as the largest committed battery project in the Southern Hemisphere.

The anticipated 850MW battery energy storage system – identified as “critical state significant infrastructure” by the NSW government – will be located roughly 100km north of Sydney and 25km south of the Eraring coal-fired power station. The project is being delivered as part of the state government’s response to the expected closure of the Eraring power station in 2025, which represents approximately 25 percent of the state’s thermal generating capacity.

Akaysha managing director Nick Carter told Infrastructure Investor the project would play an important role in the energy transition. Integrated with the TransGrid network via the System Integrity and Protection Scheme designed to monitor transmission lines, the battery will also be able to act as a “shock absorber” for the state’s power system in the event of sudden power surges.

“The Waratah Super Battery will… respond instantaneously to critical network events such as transmission line failures and generation unit trips. It will act as a ‘shock absorber’ and allow the network to be operated in a more robust and efficient way, allowing more renewable generation to enter the network as more thermal synchronous generation exits,” Carter said.

The Energy Corporation of NSW’s appointment of Akaysha to develop the battery follows BlackRock Real Assets’ acquisition of the developer in August, which marked the first energy storage investment in the Asia-Pacific region for the firm’s climate infrastructure business. The investment was made via BlackRock’s Global Renewable Power Fund III.

At the time managing director Charlie Reid, co-head of BlackRock’s climate infrastructure business in APAC, told Infrastructure Investor the firm would look to deploy A$1 billion ($624.4 million; €639.7 million) towards the build-out of Akaysha’s 1GW portfolio – consisting of nine projects in Australia’s National Electricity Market – over the next three to five years.

The portfolio of projects includes Akaysha’s Ulinda Park BESS in Queensland, Orana BESS in NSW and Palmerston BESS in Tasmania. The remaining six projects under development have not yet been made public.

“[The] Ulinda Park battery has received development approval from the local council and is currently progressing grid connection, as is also the case soon with the Palmerston BESS,” Carter said. “The Orana BESS is still completing its community consultations and environmental surveys for planning approval.”

In July, BlackRock’s GRP Fund III more than doubled its commitment in South Korean clean energy company Korea Renewable Energy Development & Operation Holdings, which the firm acquired last year for an undisclosed amount.