Renewable energy generator Meridian Energy has selected France-based Saft to construct New Zealand’s first large-scale grid-connected battery energy storage system (BESS).
The 100-MW system, which will be built at Ruakaka in the country's North Island, will try to enhance the stability of the national grid as intermittent wind and solar power increases in New Zealand. It will have a storage capacity of 200 MWh to support the local grid demand for around two hours.
The BESS is the initial phase of a project that will involve the construction of a co-located 130-MW solar farm by Meridian Energy.
Saft says it is providing a completely integrated solution for the Ruakaka BESS, including the supply of battery and power conversion equipment, installation, commissioning, and 20 years of operational services.
The BESS solution provided by Saft will include 80 Intensium Shift battery containers, which are based on lithium iron phosphate technology. The solution will also include 40 inverters Freemaq PCSK GEN3, 20 medium-voltage power stations, and a power management system from third-party suppliers.
The company will integrate these equipment with Meridian and Transpower 33kV switchgears, SCADA and power station.
According to Saft, the Intensium-Shift 3 MWh containers are suited for energy time-shifting, peaking, and capacity support applications. They can be installed in line-ups with power conversion equipment and have a 50% smaller system footprint, while reducing 50% of site-related activities, allowing for faster deployment of utility-scale storage plants. Additionally, the containers have safety features such as fire suppression systems or blast panels.
The BESS is expected to come online in the second half of 2024. It will provide Meridian with a variety of new revenue opportunities, including the ability to shift energy consumption during different pricing periods and participate in the North Island’s reserve electricity market. Meridian estimates that the BESS will generate annual revenues of up to $35 million.
“As intermittent renewable generation increases in New Zealand, this BESS will help manage supply fluctuations and reduce this country’s reliance on fossil fuels,” Meridian Energy Chief Executive Neal Barclay said. “We have a bold vision for Ruakaka, with a grid-scale solar farm planned to further speed up our transition to a low carbon economy The shared infrastructure provided by the BESS will significantly improve the economics of the future solar farm.”
Saft, a wholly-owned subsidiary of TotalEnergies, specializes in advanced technology battery solutions for industry.