Elvin Group to deliver a Tesla mega-battery to drive new Canberra suburbs

Karyn Starmer4 May 2021
Elvin Group Holt battery

Elvin Group Chairman Vic Elvin and Elvin Group renewables managing director Sam Blackadder on site. Photo: Photox – Canberra Photography Services.

Canberra infrastructure and renewables development company Elvin Group has announced the installation of Australia’s first commercial urban large scale-based utility battery.

The 5 megawatt-hour battery will have the capacity to service the average energy needs of approximately 5,400 households for an hour. It will also stand ready to pump power into the grid in the event of a shortfall, making sharing between ACT and NSW more efficient.

The new battery, located on Drake Brockman Drive, Ginninderry, will form an essential part of electricity infrastructure to supply the north Canberra suburbs of Holt and Ginninderry. It is the first stage of a larger national plan to provide essential support to grid services both in the ACT and across other states and territories.

The Holt and Ginninderry area was selected as an area of growing population and energy needs.

Elvin Group Renewables managing director Sam Blackadder said the battery and future solar array, developed with Evoenergy, represented the first phase in a plan to provide Canberra with reliable renewable energy to power residential homes.

“As the project is expanded, batteries can be placed at strategic sites around the grid to inject bursts of power to fill gaps in dispatchable supply, meaning the nation’s existing power supply can be used more efficiently to serve greater demand,” Mr Blackadder said.

“The growth of Canberra’s population and more frequent extreme weather events have increased the demand for reliable power supply throughout the ACT. Over the past two years, the impact of storm events, hot summers and the devastating bushfires amplified the risks to the Territory’s power supply. Networks are now looking for non-network options to help avoid extended brownouts and blackouts and fluctuating voltage.

“This installation will demonstrate to the community how renewable resources are a viable solution to meet Canberra’s needs for stable, reliable, consistent and environmentally positive energy,” Mr Blackadder said.

Evoenergy Group manager strategy and operations Leylann Hinch said Evoenergy is committed to working with the energy industry and the community to promote the uptake of renewable energy and facilitate ACT’s progression towards a net-zero carbon future.

“We are excited to be a part of innovative projects like these, and we’re dedicated to transforming our grid to be at the forefront of our energy network transition and technology change,” Mr Hinch said.

Elvin Group employees at Tesla factory

Gus Elvin, Vic Elvin, Clint Parsons, Dane Elvin, Craig Elvin, Zac Elvin and Samuel Blackadder at the Tesla Gigafactory in the US in March 2020. Photo: Elvin Group.

Mr Blackadder said Elvin Group has been working on the project for over 18 months, visiting the Tesla factory in the US pre-COVID-19. The battery recently arrived on site and will go live in May.

“We are actively engaged in discussions with both the ACT and Federal governments, We wish to be active co-operative partners on future projects for the benefit of the local community, but we decided to advance on this project regardless as we believe there is a place for private enterprise in this space,” Mr Blackadder explained.

“These projects are expensive, and there is no guarantee on return; however, renewable energy solutions are a part of what we see as part of the future for the region. Reducing carbon emissions is part of our corporate and social responsibilities.”

Elvin Group is a locally owned family company that has operated in and around the Canberra region for over 50 years.

The group’s core business activities include concrete, quarry, construction and development divisions. Elvin Group Renewables has projects including solar generation, utility-scale battery installations, hydrogen production and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Elvin Group chief executive officer Craig Elvin said the company has always been focused on the Canberra region’s long-term needs.

“As a Canberra company, we have always been progressive and proactive in advancing projects that benefit the Canberra region. We actively delivered the first solar farms in Canberra. As part of the Holt project, we will also be installing a 500 kW ground-based solar array that will help ensure the operating ability of the battery during early afternoon and evening peak loads,“ Mr Elvin said.

“Elvin Group is committed to driving innovation and cutting edge technology; as such, we intend undertaking a trial later this year to have locally generated green hydrogen directly converted onsite using advanced technology to supply further amounts of stable renewable energy to ACT residents.”

Original Article published by Karyn Starmer on The RiotACT.

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