Launch of New Zealand's First Utility Scale Battery Energy Storage System (BESS)

WEL Networks and Infratec are proud to announce the launch of New Zealand’s largest Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) with commissioning underway.

The BESS is set to deliver huge benefits to the Waikato by providing an energy storage facility which will improve the resilience of the New Zealand electricity system, while also increasing the value of intermittent renewable generation in the region.

WEL Networks Chief Executive, Garth Dibley says, “The battery will maximise the benefits of solar power, providing charging capacity for electric vehicles and back up during grid emergencies. It will store enough energy to meet the daily demands of over 2,000 homes and will be capable of providing fast reserves support for the North Island grid.”

The battery’s role in reducing the need for non-renewable energy sources will be a key contributor to lowering emissions in support of New Zealand’s Net Zero emissions target by 2050.

Infratec GM, Nick Bibby says, “Our team have worked closely with our parent company WEL Networks, our major suppliers and local electrical and civil contractors on this innovative build. The result is a battery that is the first of its scale to be built in New Zealand.”

Construction on the 35MWh BESS in Rotowaro, Huntly commenced in July 2022. The build programme was not without its challenges, with a few delays due to the supply chain issues being experienced internationally, however the construction and supply partners worked collaboratively to produce a world-class result.

The major equipment supply contractors include Saft and Power Electronics NZ Ltd. Local electrical contractors WEL Services, Northpower and Hamilton Electricians, civil contractor Connells and support services of Mainfreight and McLeod Hamilton Hiabs, were used in the construction and commissioning of the BESS.

Saft Executive Vice President for Energy Storage Solutions, Hervé Amossé says, “Saft is proud to provide this first Battery Energy Storage System for New Zealand in the Waikato. We are excited to start this operation phase of the battery for which we will continue to support our partners.  We have worked hand-in-hand with WEL Networks and Infratec to install and commission this project on time so that New Zealand can increase its share of renewable energy for its citizens and move closer to its goal of net zero emissions by 2050.”

Power Electronics NZ Ltd Operations Director, Brent Sheridan sees New Zealand as a key market for storage solutions with future generation growth primarily being led by solar and wind technology.

“Power Electronics are proud to be the suppliers of inverters for this project. We are delighted to be working with Infratec and WEL in assisting the decarbonisation of New Zealand and striving towards a 100% renewable energy country,” he says.

NewPower Energy Chief Executive, Grant Smith says, “This is an exciting milestone for our NewPower business, being first to market bringing off shore storage technology to enhance local renewable generation and support our national transmission system and renewable generation market.”

WEL Networks and Infratec are also actively pursuing other opportunities to further enhance resilience and access to renewable power in the region.