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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald
Matthew Kelly

Origin Energy buys into Newcastle clean energy startup

Origin Energy has acquired a 5 per cent equity interest in Newcastle-based clean-tech company Allegro Energy and agreed to a pilot of their long duration battery at Eraring Power Station.

Allegro's Redox Flow Battery technology is water-based, making it a safer and more environmentally friendly option than other battery technologies.

The batteries contain no scarce materials and all key components are recyclable.

"We are pleased to be making an investment in what we view as a very promising technology. We believe long duration storage will ultimately play an important role in the energy mix, and we look forward to watching the progress of this trial and seeing how this technology could complement other storage projects within Origin's portfolio," Origin's head of energy supply and operations, Greg Jarvis said,

"Long duration storage could supplement the high demand peak period covered by the 460 megawatt Eraring battery currently under development and add to the overnight generation availability provided by the Shoalhaven Hydro Scheme.

Eraring Power Station.

"Our investment in Allegro is a great example of our teams seeking out solutions to some of the challenges presented by Australia's energy transition. It is also particularly pleasing for Origin to work with an innovative, local firm as we look to further transform the Eraring site for the future," Mr Jarvis said.

The agreement provides options for Origin to support Allegro throughout its growth and development.

Once an initial 100 kilowatt (800 kilowatt hour) Redox Flow Battery module is successfully deployed at Eraring, a 5 megawatt (60 megawatt hour) battery is planned, which, if successful, will provide 12 hours of energy storage capacity.

The Eraring site requires minimal preparation works prior to installation, which are expected to commence in August 2023, with the battery set to be commissioned in late 2024.

Origin first identified Allegro Energy's technology via Free Electrons, a global open innovation program for energy start-ups.

Free Electrons is run by seven of the world's most forward-thinking energy companies, including Origin, and aims to uncover the best new ideas and technologies that can help make energy cleaner, smarter, more efficient and more affordable.

In April 2023, Origin confirmed a $600 million investment to support delivery of the first stage of a large-scale battery Eraring. Works on the 460 MW two-hour dispatch duration battery storage are expected to commence in July 2023.

On 17 February 2022, Origin submitted notice to the Australian Energy Market Operator indicating the potential early retirement of the Eraring coal-fired power station at the end of the required three-and-a-half year notice period.

Origin will continue to assess the market over time, and this will help inform the final timing for closure of all four units at Eraring.

Origin will also continue to actively engage with the market operator, NSW Government, our people, and the local community regarding plans for Eraring's closure.

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