ARENA study to look at retrofitting traditional power stations to renewables and storage

The Albanese Government with ARENA and AGL – is investigating the feasibility of retrofitting a gas-fired power station to become an energy storage facility using innovative thermal storage technology, powered by renewable energy.

If successful, it could be a gamechanger for both renewable energy, and the sites of traditional thermal power generation.

The technology could allow similar plants to use renewables to store energy for use during peak demand, creating jobs in new industries in the regions that have powered Australia, while making energy cleaner, cheaper and more secure, and cutting emissions.

The $422,582 grant will explore heating chemically engineered materials to high temperatures to power steam-driven turbines at AGL’s Torrens Island Power Station B, just outside Adelaide.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said strong uptake of renewable energy was increasing the need for storage in the National Electricity Market (NEM).

“This study will look at the feasibility of retrofitting current power stations to be powered by renewable electricity and thermal energy storage – these are the kind of innovative ideas that we need to get this massive transformation right.

“I was lucky enough to visit MGA Thermal’s facility in Tomago in NSW recently with my colleague Meryl Swanson MP– and thermal storage technology looks very encouraging.

“We talk a lot about how we need to get much more renewable energy into the system, and storage is a major part of that. We need thermal storage, like batteries and pumped hydro, to firm that capacity and make sure it can be dispatched when we need it.”

The two possible thermal storage solutions AGL is considering for the project are:

  • Kraftblock’s German-made synthetic pellets of mostly recycled material that operate at temperatures of up to 1,300 degrees Celsius, and 
  • MGA Thermal’s Australian alloy technology that can reach operating temperatures of 760 degrees.

For more information on AGL’s Torrens Island project, visit