11 June, 2024

That’s a big battery

A proposed battery storage facility in Hazeldean would rank among the largest ever constructed in Queensland.

Map showing the proposed site next to waterways: Blue - Watercourse in the Higher Risk Catchment Area, Yellow - Project footprint, Purple - Site boundary, Green - Transmission line.
Map showing the proposed site next to waterways: Blue - Watercourse in the Higher Risk Catchment Area, Yellow - Project footprint, Purple - Site boundary, Green - Transmission line.

Renewable energy company Enervest has lodged a development application for a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) with the Somerset Council.

The BESS will have a storage capacity of up to 800MW/1,600MWh, comprising of approximately 256 inverters and 512 battery enclosures.

The Queensland Department of Energy and Climate (DEC) confirmed to The Sentinel, the project’s potential size and significance if approved.

According to the DEC, currently the largest operating battery storage facility in QLD is CS Energy’s 100 MW/200 MWh Kogan Creek battery near Chinchilla, which started operation in May 2024.

Additionally, Quinbrook’s Supernode Battery project, with a capacity of 750 MW and up to 2000 MWh, has development approval and is set to commence construction, being similar in size to the proposed Hazeldean facility.

A DEC spokesperson said a facility of this size would benefit the area by creating construction jobs, including civil works, earthworks and electricians, while also creating ongoing jobs during its operational life.

“Once operational (if approved), the battery will assist in ensuring the reliable supply of power to the local community, and enable increased solar output from residential systems in the area through its ability to store excess solar generation in the middle of the day”, they said.

“Various state and Commonwealth regulations will ensure the design of the project considers all aspect of the battery system’s lifecycle, including potential impact on nearby residents.

“The regulations ensure the safe operation of the batteries, and are updated to reflect the latest technology and safety standards.”

Given the size of the proposed facility, one of the main concerns residents in Hazeldean and Kilcoy have is the proximity of the location to a watercourse that flows into the Somerset Lake.

An Seqwater spokesperson said Somerset Regional Council referred Enervest’s development application to Seqwater for third party advice in October 2023, and Seqwater issued a request for further information.

Both council and Seqwater were given a response to the information request in April 2024, with it currently being under review.

“Seqwater is working with Council to provide third party advice on the development application, with consideration to the ongoing management and protection of our clean, safe and secure drinking water quality and supply”, a spokesperson said. Seqwater’s final advice will be made available on Council’s website.

According to an Enervest spokesperson: “State and federal laws ensure minimum environmental disturbance, including containment of flood waters.”

According to Enervest’s proposal plans, the development complies with all requirements of the Somerset Region Planning Scheme Catchment Management Overlay (SRPSCMO), with no impacts expected to occur to the local environment or catchment area.

The development footprint design maintains a minimum 110m from mapped watercourses, therefore meeting the buffer requirement of 100m from a watercourse in the Higher Risk Catchment Area, as required by SRPSCMO.

“No worsening of stormwater quality or change of stormwater quantity is expected to result from the proposed works and all wastewater will be managed via on-site effluent disposal and treatment system, with no wastewater being discharged into watercourses or watercourse buffer areas”, Enervest stated.

“Moreton Bay Ramsar site is located 40-50km downstream of the subject site. Due to the small scale nature of the action and the distance from the Ramsar site, the proposed development is unlikely to have any direct or indirect impacts upon the Ramsar wetland.”

Among the measures proposed to be taken to reduce the risk of impacts to waterways, Enervest will cover exposed soils with appropriate materials, store any chemicals away from watercourses, and store chemical spill kits on site.


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