Meridian Energy will begin construction of the Ruakākā Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) in the first quarter of 2023. The project will construct New Zealand’s first large-scale grid battery storage system, providing Meridian with a versatile North Island asset, situated south of Whangārei.
Meridian Energy Chief Executive Neal Barclay says the company’s approach to a battery storage system has evolved during its development phase.
“A North Island battery was originally part of our response package to Rio Tinto’s termination of its electricity contract for the Tiwai Point Aluminium Smelter. As we developed the opportunity, the BESS business case proved to be an economic investment irrespective of Rio Tinto’s future in New Zealand.”
Mr Barclay says the BESS offers multiple new revenue streams, providing the ability to load shift between price periods and to participate in the North Island reserve electricity market.
“As intermittent renewable generation increases in this country, the Ruakākā Battery Energy Storage System will help manage supply fluctuations through a low carbon footprint, reducing this country’s reliance on fossil fuels,” Mr Barclay says.
“We have a bold vision for Ruakākā, with a grid-scale solar farm planned to further speed up our transition to a productive low carbon economy. The shared infrastructure provided by the BESS will significantly improve the economics of the future solar farm,” adds Mr Barclay.
Global battery specialist Saft will provide integrated battery supply, installation, commissioning and operational services for the Ruakākā BESS. Meridian Energy will manage a multi contract delivery approach, with project completion expected in the second half of 2024.
Meridian Energy Limited
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