Octopus Australia has continued its rapid expansion in Australia, buying a proposed one gigawatt hour battery storage project located near the Swanbank gas power station in Queensland.
The 500MW/1000MWh Blackstone battery project will be the biggest in Queensland and will be located next to the sub-station of the same name, not far from the site of the Swanbank power station, where owner CleanCo plans its own 250MW/500MWh battery as part of a revamp of the site into a clean energy hub.
Octopus has already made big inroads into the Australian market via the Dulacca wind farm in Queensland (pictured above), and the neighbouring Ardandra solar and battery project, the Darlington Point solar project, the Hay wind farm and the Blind Creek solar and battery projects in NSW, and the Perry Bridge and Fulham solar farms in Victoria.
It is also pursuing up to $1 billion of solar, battery and green hydrogen projects in the Northern Territory through its Desert Springs Octopus venture.
Its main fund for investing in renewables in Australia, dubbed OASIS, is backed by super funds Hostplus and Rest Super, and also the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
The battery project was bought from Firm Power, which is developing more than 3GWh of storage projects across the main grid, including near Newcastle, in western Sydney and on the NSW central coast. It has another battery battery, Abermain, located near another substation near Ipswich in Queensland.
Firm Power says it has lodged a development application for the Blackstone project with the Ipswich City Council and commenced grid modelling. It says Octopus will complete the planning permitting and grid connection work.
Firm Power says there was strong interest in the Blackstone project from a range of local and international investors. It says the battery will provide system strength and reliability to the electricity network in the high-load, high-growth corridor of South-East Queensland.
Update: Octopus Australia said in a later statement that the Blackstone battery and its other projects would help it make “market leading” power purchase agreements that provided “firmed blocks” of energy.
“The acquisition of Project Blackstone is a landmark transaction for Octopus Australia which advances our portfolio strategy,” said Sonia Teitel, the co-head of investment and development at Octopus Australia.
“Once developed the project will enable innovative offtake products to be structured.” The company expects to make a final investment decision on the project in 2025.
Giles Parkinson is founder and editor of Renew Economy, and is also the founder of One Step Off The Grid and founder/editor of the EV-focused The Driven. Giles has been a journalist for 40 years and is a former business and deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review.