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New depot’s solar solution boosts local power grid

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Lord Mayor Clover Moore and TransGrid CEO Paul Italiano have unveiled the first industrial-scale Tesla Powerpack battery to be installed and operational in the Sydney metropolitan area.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore and TransGrid CEO Paul Italiano today unveiled the first industrial-scale Tesla Powerpack battery to be installed and operational in the Sydney metropolitan area.

The battery is powered by more than 1,600 solar panels on the roof of the City of Sydney’s new Alexandra Canal depot. It can store up to 500 kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to meet the daily needs of around 50 homes and equivalent to the storage capacity of 50,000 mobile phone batteries.

The battery was installed by TransGrid as part of a trial of behind the meter energy storage. The Tesla Powerpack and solar installation will power the new depot, home to 155 city workers and a fleet of 40 vehicles.

The battery will primarily be used to allow the depot to be self-sufficient and store energy produced by rooftop solar generation, minimising the need for electricity from the grid. The depot will be officially opened to the public on Saturday 30 June.

TransGrid is trialling the ability to take control of the battery in times of peak demand on the electricity grid to reduce the need for investment in the transmission network.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore and TransGrid CEO Paul Italiano

“Growing the uptake of renewable energy is critical in combating the worst impacts of climate change,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“We’re working towards a target of 50 per cent of all electricity in the City of Sydney area to come from renewables by 2030. To help us achieve that target, we’re covering the roofs of our properties with as many solar panels as possible.

“By mid-2021, we expect to have more than 7,800 solar panels on the roofs of our properties.

“This agreement with TransGrid means that facilities like our depot can be powered by solar energy, even when the sun is blocked by clouds and in the early evening, when the sun is setting but demand on the grid is still strong.

“We expect the new depot will be certified carbon neutral, because on many days the solar panels on the roof produce more energy than is consumed onsite.

“Apart from the 600 tonnes of carbon emissions we will save every year, this trial will allow TransGrid to better understand the impact on the grid as more energy storage solutions like our new depot are installed across the Sydney metropolitan area.

“As the mix of storage and generation on our electricity grid changes, solar solutions like this could provide reliability and resilience to our electricity network and potentially prevent blackouts.”

TransGrid CEO Paul Italiano said large-scale batteries will play a large role in the future of electricity network services.

"We know our customers want to see more innovative services that help reduce costs. This initiative with City of Sydney will afford the depot a significant amount of energy self-sufficiency while also sharing benefits with the wider community through the electricity network,” Mr Italiano said.

This technology, deployed at scale, would provide the option of relieving stress during peak demand around the Alexandra Canal depot.

The process, known as 'demand management' is aimed at reducing or deferring the need for new investment on TransGrid's electricity network, ultimately reducing the cost of bills. The batteries are managed remotely and in real time by TransGrid.

"By partnering with a site where this service is needed, we can provide a benefit to support the City of Sydney’s renewable energy goals and reduce the costs of the council's depot," said Mr Italiano.

For media inquiries or images, contact Alex Cauchi. Phone mobile 0467 803 815 or email acauchi@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

For interviews with TransGrid, contact Mitchell Hume. Phone mobile 0428 822 959 or email mitchell.hume@transgrid.com.au

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, please contact Jack Begbie. Phone 0481 759 580 or email jbegbie@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

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