Queensland’s State Government activates Bouldercombe’s ‘Big Bessie’ to battle power bills for Rockhampton Residents 

The Queensland Government has kickstarted a new 50-megawatt (MW) grid-scale battery south of the township of Gracemere in the state’s north as part of its Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan.    

In a statement issued on Monday (17 July 2023) by Queensland’s Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen and Minister for Public Works and Procurement Mick de Brenni, the state government said it had commissioned the newly named ‘Big Bessie’ battery to store the network’s cheap excess solar energy. 

It is the government’s belief this move will result in downward pressure on current power prices plaguing the citizens of Rockhampton and, when fully operational at the end of 2023, will also provide ancillary services to support the stability and reliability of the transmission network that supplies power to more than 5 million Queenslanders.  

The government reports Big Bessie has also been commissioned to help ‘revolutionise’ the way energy supply and demand can be managed during peak times. 

It is noted by the government that Big Bessie currently boasts enough potential to power more than 4,000 homes annually and comprises a total of 40 Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Megapack 2.0 batteries. 

The government adds in order to achieve this feat, Powerlink’s grid connection works involved a new 132kV switching bay at the Bouldercombe Substation, as well as installing a 70-tonne transformer at the site and building 150m of subterranean transmission cable.  

Speaking on this ‘revolutionary’ move, Minister de Brenni says: “Energisation of the Bouldercombe Battery Project signals yet another step towards making the Queensland SuperGrid a reality for local communities and putting downward pressure on household energy bills. Batteries are fast and flexible, with the ability to ramp up and down instantaneously to support the stability of the power system and reduce wholesale price volatility.

Energisation of the Bouldercombe Battery Project signals yet another step towards making the Queensland SuperGrid a reality…”

This battery, along with our Cost-of-Living Rebates, show that the Palaszczuk Government is committed to helping keep costs down for households.”

Echoing these comments, Member for Rockhampton and Central Queensland Hydrogen Champion Barry O’Rourke says this move by the Queensland government represents a shift in the right direction towards developing Queensland’s ‘SuperGrid’. 

“This landmark project signals a monumental shift in Central Queensland’s energy profile as more renewable energy comes into service and work continues to develop the Queensland SuperGrid.

This battery acts as a super solar soaker, taking exports from rooftop solar and the region’s future renewable energy projects, to drive down power prices in the evenings.

This landmark project signals a monumental shift in Central Queensland’s energy profile as more renewable energy comes into service”

Basing this battery here just outside Gracemere, which is in the top 50 solar postcodes in Queensland, means renewable energy can be generated, stored and used locally to help bring down power bills.

This grid-scale battery will take renewable energy produced from local rooftop solar PV and other nearby wind and solar farms, and release [it] when needed — delivering even more reliable, cheaper and cleaner energy for Central Queenslanders.

With the Palaszczuk Government working towards 80 per cent renewables by 2035, it’s vital we maximise investment in new technologies to support the energy transformation.

It is a critical part of our long-term plan for Queensland to meet our responsibilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Write to Adam Drought at Mining.com.au

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Written By Adam Drought
Born and raised in the UK, Adam is a sports fanatic with an interest in Rugby League and UFC/MMA. When not training in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Adam attends Griffith University where he is completing his final year of a Communication & Journalism degree.