18 Oct 2021

WEL Networks plans a 35MW battery energy storage system

2:12 pm on 18 October 2021

Waikato-based lines company WEL Networks has lodged a resource consent to build the country's first large scale energy storage battery.

Eco friendly battery energy storage system in nature with misty forest in background and fresh grassland in foreground. 3d rendering.

The energy storage battery will maximise the benefits of solar power, WEL Networks says. Photo: 123rf

The company plans to partner with renewable energy specialist, Infratec, to build a 35MW (megawatt) battery energy storage system (BESS), which has the capacity to meet the daily demands of more than 2000 homes.

It would also provide electricity reserves for the North Island during periods of high demand, the company said.

"This technology will help network resilience while supporting renewable generation uptake," WEL Networks chief executive Garth Dibley said.

"We strongly believe that our battery will offer value to WEL network customers by supporting the charging of EVs, maximising the benefits of solar power and providing backup during grid emergencies."

The consent has been filed with the Waikato District Council.

The project has a price tag of $25 million and is expected to be commissioned by October 2022.

Infratec general manager Nick Bibby said it had plenty of experience in battery projects, which it had leveraged to develop this opportunity for WEL Networks.

"Batteries will need to be embedded in networks to best serve local communities," he said.

"We have selected a mature technology with a 20-year life span, so we expect this battery to be making headlines for all the right reasons for years to come."

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